BY DAVE SIMPSON
Hoping to establish a new category of storage/database management software, Princeton Softech is delivering a technology that it refers to as "active archiving" and that some analysts refer to as "intelligent archiving."
"Active archiving removes infrequently accessed data, or active reference data, from a relational database, while maintaining the relational integrity of the data," explains Lisa Cash, president and CEO of Princeton Softech. "We're addressing the problem of explosive database growth." The Meta Group consulting firm estimates that corporate databases grow 40% annually on average.
The company competes to a degree with vendors such as Computer Associates, Compuware, and IBM and with traditional hierarchical software management (HSM) and backup/restore vendors. However, according to Cash, "with standard backup/restore software, you're not removing data from the database; you're copying all of the data, and that doesn't address the issues of performance and availability."
Cash argues that other alternatives such as disk-based mirroring or replication may be too expensive for some sites.
"Active archiving" software executes on a Windows NT-based Archive Server, offloading data movement from the primary network.
In addition to potential performance (response times) and availability benefits, active archiving reduces the amount of data needed to be stored in the production database, which reduces the amount of production capacity required while contributing to performance increases. Another benefit is faster backups.
Princeton's Active Archive Solutions executes on a Windows NT Archive Server (see diagram). A Unix version is due in about four months. The product can be used with most major databases, including DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and SQL Server.
Besides offloading data to secondary disk, tape, or optical devices, active archiving can restore the data in its business context, a feature that Cash claims differentiates the company from its competitors and from traditional archiving approaches.
The technology is based on the company's Relationship Engine, which "understands" the semantics of complex data models and processes related sets of data stored in multiple tables or views. It assembles subsets of related data, referentially intact.
Princeton Softech is a subsidiary of Computer Horizons, in Princeton, NJ. Earlier this year, the company sold its Select product line to focus solely on the active archiving market.