RealTime IT News

IBM Puts Data Archive on Center Stage

IBM opens the doors today to a brand-new $10 million dollar Global Archive Solutions Center in Mexico aimed at helping companies develop and build long-term plans for data archival.

Staffed with 30 to 50 experts, the center will provide simulations of real world customer environments and help companies address challenges faced in retaining data. It's IBM's 11th global center and the first to focus on a specific technology "pain point" rather than a customer vertical industry or IBM product line.

"We're focused on archiving given the massive data growth happening," Charlie Andrews, worldwide marketing manager, IBM System Storage, told InternetNews.com.

"This is not just about hardware or software but providing a way to help businesses rationalize the chaos that archived data can bring," Andrews said.

Big Blue is also sending a very clear message with its center's focus that archiving is not data backup and data backup is not archiving, according to one analyst.

"The center is unique in the fact that it focuses solely on the process of archiving further segregating it from traditional backup," Brian Babineau, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), told InternetNews.com in an e-mail. "Customers should recognize that archiving is different from backup and IBM is committed to helping to do just that," Babineau added.

Another clear message is that archiving is a fast growing, revenue-flush business play.

According to ESG, organizations will archive over 200 exabytes of database, files and e-mails in the next five years. A recent ESG study found that businesses' archived data could exceed more than 30 petabytes by 2012, or more than 30 million gigabytes.

Worldwide file, database and e-mail archive capacity will each skyrocket at an a compound annual growth rate of up to 73 percent -- altogether totaling nearly two trillion full filing cabinets of information, according to the research firm.

IBM isn't the lone storage player eyeing the dollar signs in data archival. HP rolled out its Medical Archive Solution 3.0, an archiving platform designed for healthcare providers, back in January. U.S. regulations require hospitals and clinics to save adult medical records and images for seven years and pediatric records for at least 25 years.

The need for archiving is being driven in other industries as well by compliance mandates, electronic discovery laws and an overall demand for more efficient storage strategies.

"IBM realizes that these drivers are not just a fad and that organizations need to take a long-term perspective when it comes to archiving critical business information," Babineau wrote.

The push to save on energy costs also plays into data archiving. Today's datacenters are getting short on space and power. IBM said improved archive approaches can bring better efficiency and lower costs through best practices and various data storage approaches, such as cloud computing and virtualization.

The center is housed within IBM's campus built in Guadalajara in 1927. The region's growing IT segment provides a highly skilled workforce, according to the vendor.

"The approach of taking data and throwing it to the back of a closet to pile up is long gone," said Andrews. "Archiving is going to be a significant and relevant topic going forward for every business."