Data Compliant Storage Technologies

Storage Technology Pro’s and Con’s

Whilst the driving force behind the need to be compliant with rules and regulations is a necessity. The storage technologies behind these rules and regulations are not so clear. The choice of a compliant long term archive medium is only down to two technologies, these being:

a. Optical Blu-ray – Blu-ray optical
b. Tape LTO-8 – Linear Tape Open

We have discounted CD-R as the capacity is too limiting with the storage volumes involved today. Also DVD has now been replaced by Blu-ray due to increased capacity.

A compliant storage technology needs to meet the following criteria:

a. Have a clearly defined media life.
b. Be a True WORM technology, so that in the event of a legal challenge, the media can be shown not to have been tampered with.
c. Meet the guidelines laid down by the ruling authorities for data archiving.
d. Have Green credentials

Which is the best technology for my organisation?

It would depend on your requirement for example:

1. The company is a mortgage organisation and needs to hold records for 20 years. From time to time mortgage policy holders call the organisation to renew their existing mortgage or change information. This information needs to have a fast access time and long storage life. The choice of technology in this example should be Blu-ray or UDO.

If the company chose LTO-6 instead of the others based on cost. To retrieve a file on tape could take 4 minutes. We have 500 call centre operators dealing with customer enquiries online, we would loose 2000 minutes per enquiry and therefore a loss of productivity.

2. The company is involved in architectural design and needs to hold records for 15 years. These diagrams are typically stored digitally and are about 1GB in size. This information needs to be available online and have a reasonable archive life. The choice of technology in this example should be Blu-ray.

If the company chose LTO-7 then the access time to retrieve the data might an issue. Also the archive life of LTO-7 tapes is significantly less than Blu-ray. In reality data stored on tape should only be kept for 5 years and then checked for degradation.

Is a hard disk based archive acceptable?

Whilst hard disks by nature are read/write devices. Companies today employ encryption methods to make their disk based archive compliant. Could you really say these systems are reliable? Probably not, the reason is hard disks are constantly spinning 7×24 mechanical devices and as such wear out within about 3 years. A hard disk based solution might from the outset seem cost effective, but over time these costs start to mount up considerably as they:

a. Consume large amounts of power
b. Need to be housed in secure locations as the disks cannot be removed and stored
c. Typically sold in pairs for DR contingency planning
d. Cost a huge amount of money in annual maintenance charges

Storage Technology Comparison

Technology Positive Negative Energy Efficiency Storage Life
Blu-ray Fast/High capacity optical capacity Expensive “A” or “B” Rating 50 years
LTO-7 Highest Storage Capacity/Lowest Cost per Gigabyte Slowest retrieval time “C” Rating 30 years


If you require assistance when choosing a suitable Data Compliance solution we can help with consultancy, deployment, recommendations, maintenance and support by making the right choice of software and hardware based on your organisational requirements. Call us on 01256 331614 or complete below.