This blog business has been turning out to be more fun than I expected – maybe I should be nicer and less sarcastic when the marketing team suggests these ideas.
This time, answering the questions from my archiving blog and video have led into some areas which are a bit more controversial….. there are two key issues that we talk about in my latest video:
1) Tiered storage: is it a great way of reducing costs?
2) Stubbing approaches to archives: the world’s most elegant architecture or what?
Tiered storage is a conversation I have been having in a variety of different contexts with numerous storage experts for the past decade. In short, the idea that you can lower your costs by separating out your data into different tiers and putting that data on different types of hardware is only true under very restricted conditions. Given the mass storage hardware available for the past decade however, those conditions simply do not occur for content that needs to be, in any meaningful way, ‘online’. So, if you are not thinking that one of your tiers of content is a bunch of data stuffed onto tapes that are squirreled away in a vault offsite and you expect to access only a tiny fraction of that content, then it is pretty clear that the lowest cost solution is to put all of your data, hot and cold together, onto the biggest cheapest drives you can find. End of story. I have been nibbling away at this theme a bit in previous posts but this is an attempt to make it as black and white as possible: tiered solutions for online data will increase your costs. It will make you less green, it will cost you more $$, it will make you less efficient and it will reduce the productivity of your users.
The other issue which was raised in response to the archiving video was related to stubbing – moving the bulk of the message out of Exchange and leaving only a link or ‘stub’ behind. I consider the stubbing approach it be one of those kluges that occur in the software industry regularly that are done out of necessity. In Exchange 2003 and earlier, to avoid the tyranny of tape back-up solutions for an online Exchange store, they were about the only thing many customers could do. Even so, a tiny fraction of customers ever deployed solutions based on this approach. Those that did were not very happy but realistically didn’t have any alternatives. Now that there are real alternatives, the complexity, fragility, incompleteness and expense of stub solutions should make anyone thinking about deploying them pause and think for a very long time.