Start the Clock: How to Get an Active Archive in Less than an Hour

By David Cerf

More than 50 years ago, IBM and General Electric were grappling with computing lab’s needs to process more than one computer function at a time. The pioneers of virtual machines needed a way to share mainframe resources with disparate users. Today, you can hardly glance down a list of IT news without seeing “virtual machine” or “virtualization.” Businesses figured out it was much easier to be able to share resources for various functions instead of having separate, physical systems for every different process.

Why a VM-enabled Active Archive?

Scaling storage typically means adding another server to your rack, filling it up and the cycle continues. For businesses without the luxury of real estate, another rack might not be possible – you can only stack so high.

With a VM-archive, you can use a few GBs of space on an existing server plus a tape library or even the cloud to build a scalable active archive. This can be especially vital for businesses with multiple sites or multi-tenant architectures. The VM archive should be able to manage both file and object-based storage to support massively scalable workloads.

Plus, we like that instant gratification. Download, install and start writing data in minutes, not days. You aren’t stuck waiting for a box to ship to you, and there’s no additional hardware maintenance needed.  

Upgrade, but don’t Overhaul

If you’ve ever done any remodeling, you’ll know that it’s a lot less expensive to repaint the rooms and replace appliances rather than tear down the whole house and start from scratch. The same is true for deploying a VM active archive. Adding a virtual machine means you don’t have to mount new hardware or send existing servers to their deathbeds. Instead, re-use and repurpose to save money and simplify getting started with your archive project.

A VM-enabled active archive allows you to start small and expand the archive as you need. This way, an archiving project is easier to get started with and tackle as data continues to grow.

Let’s look at a few ways companies are leveraging VM-enabled archiving today:

  • Got tape libraries? Add a VM archive to existing library and instantly create shared storage for nearline and archive.
  • No local tape? No problem. A VM archive can keep active data locally and automatically create copies for off-site storage or the cloud for disaster recovery and data preservation.
  • Looking to simplify multi-site storage management? A VM archive can provide on-site storage that automatically replicates to a second data center, the cloud, and multi-tenant architectures.

Our friend, Jon Toigo, has been exploring this concept in his latest video installment with Barry M. Ferrite, AI. Check out some of his videos here for more information on VM archiving.