SHOULD A HYBRID PLATFORM BE SINGLE-SOURCED?
As part of the survey conducted for this program, we asked decision makers about their preference for vendor selection if they were to deploy a hybrid archiving solution. As shown in Figure 4 on the next page, we found that one-half of those surveyed prefer that the on-premises and cloud components of a hybrid archiving solution are sourced from the same vendor. However, 17 percent prefer that these components be sourced from different vendors, 23 percent don’t have a preference, and another 10 percent are not yet sure.
What this indicates is that single sourcing of a hybrid archiving solution may not be an important requirement for a large segment of the prospective market. What will be much more important, however, is the ability to have a single view into all of the data that an organization has archived rather than an independent view into individual siloes.
THE BENEFITS OF GEOREDUNDANCY
One of the fundamental benefits of cloud-based archiving, including hybrid archiving, is the georedundancy that such an approach offers in the event of a natural disaster, major power outage or some other event that renders access to a primary location inaccessible – and the on-premises archives it contains. This is particularly true for organizations that either must continually archive their content for regulatory reasons, as in the case of broker-dealers; or for organizations that provide access to archived email and other content for purposes of business continuity.
BENEFITING FROM THE BEST FEATURES OF ON-PREMISES AND CLOUD ARCHIVING
Some organizations may want to deploy a hybrid archiving solution to capitalize on the best features of on-premises and cloud archiving. The differing nature of on-premises and cloud archiving go beyond archiving the content where it is originated, although that will clearly be a trend for many organizations. Key issues to consider in the context of hybrid archiving include:
- Lower cost of ownership: A hybrid archiving solution may offer moderately to significantly lower cost of ownership relative to a solely on-premises or cloud solution if an organization has a legacy archiving solution that it does not want to replace. For example, an organization may opt to maintain its existing on-premises archiving solution for older, infrequently accessed data that it must retain, while maintaining more current, frequently accessed data using a cloud-based archiving platform. This can reduce the cost of ownership by maintaining large amounts of older data without the expense of migrating and maintaining this data in the cloud. Admittedly, maintaining a legacy, on-premises archiving solution is not without cost, but avoiding the cost of migrating data to the cloud is preferred by some decision makers.
- Synchronizing on-premises data with cloud archives: The ability to synchronize data stored in on-premises archives with that in the cloud is an essential best practice in order to eliminate duplicate data, which can drive up the cost of storage, eDiscovery and regulatory audits; and which can have a significant and negative impact on search performance.
- Bandwidth optimization: A key advantage of a hybrid archiving platform is its ability to reduce the bandwidth required for content archiving, an especially important consideration in places where bandwidth is either not plentiful or is expensive, such as remote or satellite offices. While that’s not necessarily a reason to consider on-premises archiving over cloud-based archiving, it must be part of the consideration in choosing an archiving platform.
- Flexibility: Another important advantage of a hybrid archiving approach is the ability to use archiving in a way that best matches the requirements that will be placed on the archived data. For example, data that is accessed frequently can be stored in a cloud-based archive, but as it reaches a certain age and becomes less relevant it can be migrated to an on-premises archive for long-term, lower cost archival and reduced cost of storage. That said, the opposite can also be true: organizations will often need to maintain structured data in close proximity to production systems for reasons of maintaining good performance, while data that is less frequently access is better managed in the cloud.
- Consolidation of on-premises and cloud content in a single archiving platform:The primary benefit of having a single archiving platform, as opposed to multiple platforms for different types or ages of data, is the single view of data that such a platform affords. Having a single platform is essential for tasks like eDiscovery, early case assessments, regulatory audits and even just basic searches, for a couple of reasons. First, a single archiving platform will enable an organization to discover all of its data, ensuring that it has a complete record of essential communications, data files and other information. Second, a single platform will make the cost of search less expensive and faster by allowing legal counsel and others to access the universe of data that an organization possesses instead of serially searching one silo of information after another. This reduces the potential of discovering duplicate data or not finding relevant information.
- Independence from individual cloud applications:Another important benefit of a hybrid archiving approach is its ability to consolidate archiving functionality under a unified platform instead of using individual archiving tools for different types of data, especially cloud-based platforms. For example, Microsoft’s Exchange Online Archiving will enable archival of content from Exchange and some Office 365/Exchange Online plans (albeit with a more limited feature set than is available from many third party archiving providers). However, it will not enable other content to be archived, such as social media content, text messages, or content from non-Microsoft platforms, necessitating the use of additional, independent archiving solutions.
- Improved capabilities for data analytics:Finally, a unified, hybrid archiving platform enables significantly better data analytics capabilities than if individual archiving platforms are used. As noted earlier in this paper, the fastest growing driver for archiving is extracting insight and intelligence from archived data. While it is technically possible to gain insight from individual siloes of archived data, doing so is cumbersome, time-consuming and fraught with error when using individual siloes of archived information and attempting to consolidate this data into a unified view. The use of a unified archiving platform that can extract data from on-premises and cloud-based archives is distinctly preferable.
- Defensible disposition: Service providers that support cloud or hybrid archiving options are partners that can help improve archiving and management practices, including assistance in enforcing retention via defensible disposition processes. This will help reduce the overall archive costs and keep information managed going forward.