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Why the Future of Compliant Archiving Will Be Software-Defined



Learn more about software-defined archiving for a forward-looking archival solution that features openness, scalability and cost effectiveness and grants you freedom of hardware choice. 

software-defined_compliance_HPE_blog.jpgThe European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will enter into force in May 2018. Employing more stringent rules for data archiving and retention, the GDPR applies to all organizations that have a business presence in the EU. Failure to comply carries heavy fines. Many companies are aware that they need to act quickly to comply with the pertinent long-term archiving, tracking and record-keeping regulations. Fortunately, forward-looking archival solutions that support this endeavor are readily available.

Storage appliances: approaching the end of their useful service life

For years, businesses and organizations have relied on storage appliances from major vendors for their compliant archiving needs. The key feature being that the data they store—such as transaction records or personal data—is secured against manipulation or deletion. Typical examples include EMC² Centera (CAS), NetApp SnapLock or Hitachi Content Platform (HCP). As a rule, storage appliances are designed as enclosed systems, equipped exclusively with disk drives from the same manufacturer. This approach ensures that the internal components are perfectly matched and keeps the appliance running smoothly for years.

On the downside, vendor lock-in prevents the installation of lower-price third-party media in proprietary appliances, making it inherently difficult to extend in pace with growing needs. You often have had no choice but to procure the maximum capacity for their appliance up-front and relicense with each new hardware generation. And since even idle archive capacity needs to be licensed, you may tend to face significant recurring costs over the retention period. Mirroring and replication also come with a big price tag: additional hardware purchases, license fees and support service costs drive up the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Time to say goodbye

Exponential growth of unstructured data has become a like natural law. Due to lack of scalability and cost issues, storage appliances don’t offer long-term prospects in the light of relentless data growth. Originally designed to serve as classic on-site storage systems, these appliances tend to lack the flexibility required for cloud storage integration. New requirements, driven by changes in regulatory codes and standards (such as options for data removal by defined rules, new SLAs that imply shorter response times or higher availability), are more and more difficult to meet with archive appliances.

Increasingly, compliant data archiving needs to account for industry-specific regulations in addition to the GDPR. These include GxP in the pharmaceutical industry, MIFID II, SEC 17a-4 issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, BaFin (Germany) and FINMA (Switzerland) regulations for the financial services industry, the German X-Ray Regulation in healthcare, and product liability laws pertaining to record keeping in the automotive industry.

Future-proofing compliance for business data

A new generation indicates the right way forward: software-defined archiving (SDA). A solution that provides openness, scalability and cost effectiveness, granting you freedom of hardware choice.

Like the well-established concept of software-defined storage (SDS), SDA combines purpose-built software with industry-standard servers and storage systems. A prime example of a popular SDA foundation in the marketplace is iTernity Compliant Archive Software (iCAS), combined with server and storage solutions from HPE.Layer Model iCAS_HPE.jpg

 Software control delivers flexibility

SDA decouples specific storage functionality from the storage hardware. Controlled by software, storage capacities and facilities can be distributed across multiple physical storage units – which may be disks, flash drives or emerging and future technologies. iCAS provides the functional software layer between the various business applications used as the data sources, and the storage platforms. Instead of chaining themselves to a proprietary silo, you are free to flexibly compose your specific storage landscape and to extend and modernize this landscape as needed—even during ongoing business operations. iCAS also helps you harness storage architectures such as Object Storage.

The SDA architecture exemplified by iCAS can be used to flexibly implement scalable, compliance-ready archives, ranging from the terabyte size for midsize companies to petabyte sized archives for enterprises.

iCAS keeps the data and documents to be archived—complete with associated metadata such as retention period, time stamp and checksum—in self-contained archive containers. This approach ensures that the archived data and documents are always accompanied by all critical additional information, securely retained in containers for their “long journey ahead.” Even future migrations or changes to other storage technologies will not have a detrimental impact on the software-defined archive.

Economic advantages of software-defined archiving

SDA solutions such as iCAS provide technological as well as economic benefits. iCAS supports WORM (Write Once, Read Many) data storage independent of the hardware employed, allowing you to make more efficient use of existing storage capacities and protecting investment in hardware, software and skills. The implementation effort is reduced significantly if the archiving solution can be integrated with the existing IT infrastructure, e.g. as a straightforward virtual appliance.  A recent TCO report by IT Brand Pulse* documents significant savings of more than 50% through the combination of iTernity iCAS and HPE server and storage hardware versus common storage appliances.

High availability and robust security

If the SDA solution is able to store and manage data redundantly, you do not need to invest in additional storage replication solutions. Data replication functionality integrated in iCAS can be used to replicate the archive free of charge to multiple data storage facilities across multiple sites. Combined with HPE storage systems that provide availability levels of up to 99.999%, iCAS helps you achieve a premier degree of data protection.

Optionally, iCAS can be used to encrypt all archival data to the AES256 standard. You are free to harness iCAS to encrypt and transfer archival data to the cloud provider of your choice—whether public or private. The S3 file hosting service from Amazon can also be integrated.

Long-term prospects and support of industry standards

Pertinent KPMG certification confirms that iCAS provides a compliant archiving solution. iCAS is certified for all major ECM, DMS, ERP, PACS and email archiving systems. During and following the switch to another system, iCAS can be used as the central archiving platform. iCAS is based on the most recent Microsoft® server technology and can be implemented as a virtualized, cost-efficient solution, using virtualization platforms such as Microsoft® Hyper-V™ or VMware®.

Learn more about our wide range of archiving systems

Take a look at the rich choice of data storage solutions for integration with software-defined archiving that HPE has to offer today. Options range from HPE StoreVirtual VSA, HPE MSA storage HPE Nimble Storage and 3PAR StoreServ storage arrays, HPE StoreEasy file storage, and right through to Object Storage on HPE Apollo servers using Scality or SUSE Ceph.

*IT Brand Pulse, Archive TCO Case Study, July 2017

MeeGuido_Klenner_HPE.jpgt Around the Storage Block blogger Guido Klenner, Category Manager Storage, Germany, HPE.






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