Extreme? I don’t think so. If your data is stored in a platform that is not supported, end-of-life, broken, or inaccessible in some way, it might as well be burning to the ground.

Hence this article. I also wanted to share with you a recent engagement where I was able to help a client in dire straits recover data from such a system.

I don’t think I need to convince anyone of the importance of data archiving for businesses – from meeting regulatory compliance mandates, to fulfilling discovery requests, and preserving volumes of business intelligence. However, storing your data in a platform that is no longer supported or is broken is a really bad idea.

Let’s consider two common scenarios that could happen to any business.

Your organization gets sued and is handed an order for ediscovery. You are required to turn over email and/or files even if the data has been archived for many years.

Your Legal team requests the data from your IT guys, who will do their best to comply. But what if they find that part or all the data resides in an end-of-life archive system that is no longer supported and that, as luck would have it, is broken. Getting to the requested information becomes impossible.

I’m not an attorney, so this is not legal advice. But based on my personal broad experience from the field, the likely consequence for organizations unable to meet their discovery orders is they lose the lawsuit.

Or maybe it’s not legal. Maybe your sales organization needs access to old data for a customer that could make or break a big sale. You know the data is there, but if it’s in a system that’s corrupted and no longer supported, chances are you won’t be able to get to it. Far from an ideal situation.

And so I come to the point of my story. While I cannot mention it by name yet, I know of an enterprise archiving platform that is coming to “end of life” in December 2022. This platform has about 10% of total market share in the archiving space. While that may not sound like a lot, 90% of customers using it are enterprise-class organizations. We are talking Petabytes of data!

The client who approached us for help to access archived data had also used the above-mentioned platform in the past. They had stopped storing archives in it three years ago, but the files they needed for a legal case were there. Their IT department was helpless, so they called us.

Here is how we were able to help our client. FYI, this organization has a net worth of 19 billion dollars. They also had more than 500 Terabytes of data stored in the system.

We analyzed their system and determined that the archive database was intact. It was the application portion of the archive system that had failed. We used our archive migration tool to access the data needed for the case. This enabled the legal department to meet their discovery needs in a timely manner. Further, we delivered a roadmap on how we would migrate the remainder of the data and avoid future hurdles.

It is important that you know that you can get to the data in your archiving platform. On average, most records are retained for a period of at least seven years. For larger enterprises, the time frame is considerably longer, and some records are kept forever. As platforms age, the risk of application failure rises. Your organization may have an archiving system that it is no longer using. It may even have been turned off for a couple of years. But that data is there and potentially someone may ask for it to be produced.

Ask yourself (or your IT team) these questions:

  • Do you perform regular testing to make sure the old archive system is accessible?
  • Can you perform queries or searches on the data?
  • Is the archived data outside your published records retention policies?

If you answered “NO” to any of those questions, you should be calling iShift to get help now. We have decades of experience in migrating data from archiving systems on-premises and in the cloud.

To meet our clients’ needs with respect to their archives, we’ve partnered with Transvault, a migration software company with expertise in many platforms, and developed a methodology that allows us to get to your archives even if the application portion of your archive system is no longer functioning. Together we can cover just about any archive system and get your data out. We can also migrate the data to most cloud platforms in very few steps: directly from the archive platform to the cloud with no in-between hops.

Do not wait for the fire to start, plan now.

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Charles Arconi

About Chuck

Charles Arconi is a Principal Architect at iShift who has 25+ years of IT experience architecting and deploying cloud-based email and communication technologies. For the last 10 years, Chuck’s primary focus has been migrations: data to the cloud, email to Office 365, archiving data to cloud, etc. He is an accomplished technologist who likes direct interactions with clients, speaking, explaining, and strategizing about technology with them.

He also is a think-out-of-the-box kind of guy who likes to challenge mainstream practices and design innovative methodologies for the sake of efficiency, effectiveness, and usefulness. Every month Chuck will offer his take on cloud industry news, cloud-native technologies, and practices, and share his original insights about best practices in cloud computing. You can follow Chuck on LinkedIn or contact him directly at [email protected].

About iShift

iShift is a multi-cloud technology solutions company that provides cloud engineering, cloud migration, cloud management and specialized IT staffing services. Our mission is to help businesses to simplify and accelerate growth while enabling digital transformation and IT modernization. No matter where organizations are in their cloud journey, iShift can design, build, optimize and manage a future-ready multi-cloud environment, resulting in significant cost savings, increased workforce productivity, operational resilience, continuity of services, and business agility. For more information on how our offerings empower businesses through their adoption of cloud and modern technology, visit ishift.net.

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