By Lisa Coleman
After growing 125% in 2002, Tektronix's Oracle database is projected to do so again this year due to the financial, order management, and inventory transactions that its 3,000 users worldwide perform.
The dramatic database growth needed to be addressed quickly, and Tektronix had already implemented a data life-cycle management strategy dictating proactive enterprise-wide data management. The next step was to archive data, an option that more and more companies are choosing today.
"We soon realized that we needed a tool to begin to move old data out of our production environment, while continuing to provide access to that data for our users for audits, history backups, and so on," explains Lois Hughes, senior business systems analyst at Tektronix.
The company chose OuterBay's Application Data Management (ADM) Version 1.2.2 software, which supports Oracle financials and manufacturing applications. When ADM cleaned up Tektronix's accounts receivable (AR) and order entry (OE) databases, the initial database space for AR was reduced by 48% with a corresponding 40% improvement in performance. For OE, a 56% reduction in space and a 52% initial performance improvement was achieved, saving 14.4GB in capacity.
"With archiving we can keep a minimal amount of data in our production environment, making performance much better," explains Hughes.
Tektronix's experience with database "bloat" is not unusual. The compound annual growth rate for databases exceeds 125%, according to the Meta Group IT research firm. As databases expand, companies can either buy more servers and storage, or separate and archive the inactive data from the active data, according to Charlie Garry, Meta Group's senior program director.
Archiving increases database performance as well as the performance of backups and recovery, says Garry. "You archive data off your primary database to keep it lean and performing well, and you keep that archived data in a form that if you need to get it back, it's only an SQL query away."
The market for database archiving tools is relatively small, but is growing as more products become available from a handful of companies in this space, including Applimation, IXOS Software, Legato, OuterBay, and Princeton Softech. In 2002, the database archiving market was $6.3 million. It is expected to top $11 million this year with a projected CAGR of 40% through 2007, according to market analyst firm Gartner.
Archiving is gaining popularity as companies realize their databases can grow extremely fast. "People are starting to think differently about how they manage data. In the past, they just kept everything. The thought of cleaning it up every once in awhile was not something many people wanted to tackle because it can be very difficult," says the Meta Group's Garry.
However, Garry doesn't recommend that companies use database archiving tools only to save capacity and cut storage costs. "This is primarily about performance. If you get some savings on the storage side, that's gravy," he says.
In the future, users may be able to archive to cheaper disks and open-source databases, such as MySQL. "Then you can really lower your storage and overall infrastructure costs," says Garry.
While increased performance can be a major benefit of data archiving, retail grocery chain Giant Eagle is projecting large savings in storage-related costs by using Princeton Softech's Archive for Servers PeopleSoft Edition.
The chart shows the performance improvement Tektronix realized in its accounts receivable and order entry databases after implementing OuterBay's LiveArchive software.
Giant Eagle estimates a savings of more than $70,000 in reduced disk expenditures between now and 2005. The company also projects saving more than $517,000 in infrastructure, server, and storage costs between now and 2005.
The software is helping Giant Eagle defer the cost of adding capacity, improve query response time, reduce database maintenance time, and enhance disaster-recovery procedures.
Giant Eagle is running Archive for Servers PeopleSoft Edition on two Windows NT platforms and plans to move the application to an AIX server.
"Giant Eagle has grown tremendously via acquisitions and construction of new stores, resulting in a rapid increase in data volume in our PeopleSoft Financials database. We archive to reduce data volume, improve performance, and reduce the costs associated with acquiring more disk capacity," says Bob Garrity, Giant Eagle's senior vice president of information services.
According to Bob Kalik, Giant Eagle's support manager for PeopleSoft, using the database archiving software, Giant Eagle can review and change the archiving selections before data is deleted from the database and can restore archived data even if it was archived under a release that's different than the current PeopleSoft version being used.
Princeton Softech's software lets users archive data based on business policies defined by administrators. The software archives data and metadata, enabling users to access archived data on demand while maintaining referential integrity of the data, regardless of where it is stored. The software supports Oracle, DB2/UDB, SQL Server, Sybase, and Informix databases, and Windows, Unix, and OS/390 systems as well as platforms such as EMC's Centera.
"There's complete interoperability between the supported databases, so you can move data between databases," says Lisa Cash, CEO of Princeton Softech.
OuterBay upgrades archiving software
OuterBay recently released its ADM Version 3.0 suite, which includes its flagship LiveArchive software for identifying and relocating inactive data. ADM 3.0 also includes an application resource monitor for monitoring, forecasting, and modeling data growth. The suite features an instance generator for creating smaller and relationally intact subsets of a production database. A developer's edition of the software is available to support customized applications and databases.
One feature unique to OuterBay software is its real-time, online access to archived data for "real-time" transparency, according to company claims.
"The real-time transparency layer is important in terms of supporting regulatory initiatives," says Michael Howard, CEO of OuterBay. "It doesn't impose new architectures or educational curves for users, and they don't know if data has been moved into the archive."
ADM 3.0 supports Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel and, later this year, SAP. It also supports DB2, SQL Server, Informix, and Sybase databases.