Sybase offers dynamic alternative to archive storage

The database company has released archiving software designed to reduce the time that IT managers spend in dingy storage rooms converting backup tapes into readable formats

Sybase has announced the release of a database-archiving solution, Sybase Dynamic Archive, that gives customers the performance and cost benefits of data archiving while enabling instant access to information. Sybase has also released Mirror Activator, an application designed to enhance database replication and reduce database downtime.

The volume of data stored in databases is growing by 125 percent every year, according to the Meta Group, and this is driving up hardware costs and creating performance problems. However, the hassles of restoring archived data from tape or disk make IT managers reluctant to archive unused data. This problem has been compounded by recent regulations such as the US' Sarbanes-Oxley, which mandates the retention of data for even longer.

Sybase Dynamic Archive allows the automatic transfer of inactive data from production databases to an archive database, rather than tapes or discs. This allows much easier access to the archived data, including the creation of reports. Dynamic archiving can improve database performance by between 30 and 80 percent through regular removal of inactive data, according to Sybase.

Ten companies, including Citibank in Germany, are using a pre-release of the dynamic archiving product, according to Thomas Volk, executive vice president at Sybase. The product is priced from $80,000 (£43,600) and will be initially be available only for Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise, although other vendor's database platforms, such as Oracle's, will be supported in the future. The product was developed in partnership with OuterBay Technologies, a provider of data-lifecycle software.

Graham Titterington, principal analyst at Ovum said: "This is a useful technology. I expect most of Sybase's existing customers will be interested in this, though it will mostly appeal to their larger customers. I don't see it affecting the market for tapes and disks as they will still be used for very rarely used data."

Sybase's Volk claims that while the company was initially a database vendor, it has now evolved into a "data-management software vendor".

"We're working on software to share, move and secure data, and to integrate date from different sources. Sybase has to provide its technology independent of database, otherwise we wouldn't get market share," said Volk.