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By | Bryan Betts 20th October 2006 15:48

Is archiving the answer to compliance?

Lots of managers think it might be, apparently

Storage Expo Disaster recovery is more important than regulatory compliance and organisations are using archiving to answer both needs, according to a survey of business managers and IT staff.

The survey found that interest in regulatory compliance is falling, not rising, according to Tony Cotterill, the boss of BridgeHead Software, which commissioned the research.

"It's not that people are bored by compliance now, it's that they were never interested in it," he said. "The converts are absolutely religious about it, but to the masses it's just not relevant."

So does this mean an end to the stream of doom-mongering predictions that we've had from the vendors keen to flog storage and archiving gear to meet those compliance needs?

Sadly, it seems not - and now that the lawyers have also jumped onboard the compliance gravy-train, there seems little hope of anyone else applying a little more common sense to the whole shebang.

To make it worse, the regulations produced by different authorities often contradict each other, even when they apply to the same organisation.

"To some extent we vendors are guilty, because we wanted a risk factor to hang our business on," admitted Cotterill, whose company is one of those archiving vendors. "We have painted ourselves into a corner by putting all those lawyers and accountants on podiums to talk about this."

He warned though that, with compliance becoming an industry in itself, companies will eventually have to fall in line.

"Today, business does a risk assessment and says it's cheaper to take the risk," he said. "But we haven't had any high profile failures or fines in the UK yet, and once we do, we'll have 40 per cent compliance."

On the plus side, he said the survey shows that people are becoming aware of the difference between backup and archiving - the former is about system recovery, the latter is about finding data when you need it.

Cotterill also announced that Bridgehead has added support for EMC's Centera content-addressed storage appliances to its HT integrated storage management (ISM) software.

HT ISM acts as a graphical front-end to what would otherwise be just a 'black box'. It can use Centera as a target for data replication too, even when the replicated data comes from a non-EMC system.

"It means you're not tied into the EMC box, because as long as we put the data in there, we can also move it out," Cotterill said. ®

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