Contemporary Solutions for Data Archiving

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Welcome to the Data Archiving Technology Knowledge Center

This is where you will learn about data management strategies for archiving data safely and securely over the long-term. With over 25 years of experience providing customers with data archiving solutions worldwide, ASTI believes that sharing knowledge can help customers make a well-educated decision when determining the right solution for their environments.

The technology section is intended to provide you with an overview of the various technologies and solution types associated with data archiving. Every environment is different and there are many considerations when implementing a data management strategy that can reduce overhead costs and provide the right level of security throughout the lifecycle of the data.

To begin the tutorial, click on a link of interest below or start from the begining at Selecting the Right Technology, and advance from there.

Technology Index

Selecting the Right Technology

Compliancy & Archiving

Archiving Defined

Archiving vs Backup

Archiving Media

UDO Technologies

Blu-RayTM Technology

Encryption Technology

Archiving Solutions Overview

NAS Technologies

Cloud-Integrated Storage Technologies

Direct Attached Storage Libraries

Archiving Media - A Critical Component of Archive Solutions

Archive Solutions must offer compliant data storage providing extremely resilient, long-term storage capabilities that meet mandated regulatory compliance initiatives. Hence, the best Archive Media must meet stringent requirements associated with professional archive systems. These requirements include:

  • Media Longevity
    • Permanent, long-life media (50 years or greater)
    • Highly stable data recording platform
    • Robust drives and libraries
  • Data Authenticity
    • Unalterable, true WORM
    • Compliance with regulatory mandates
  • Removability / Portability
    • Removable media facilitating disaster recovery
      • Supporting offsite vaulting
      • Supporting offsite data replication
  • Timely Access To Archived Data
    • High random access performance across potentially millions of files
  • Low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
    • Green solution, providing maximum energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact
    • Very low long-term cost
      • No media refreshes required
      • Data at rest does not consume resources


Archiving Media - Optical Archive Media Meets Professional Archive Solution Requirements

Professional Archive Solutions utilizing Optical Storage meet these requirements. Alliance Storage Technologies, Inc. (ASTI) Archive Product Solutions , utilizing optical archive media , are specifically designed for these professional and legal data archive requirements. Ultra Density Optical media (UDO media) provides absolute data authenticity for regulatory compliance or any other application where archived data must remain intact and permanently unchanged.

Optical archive media provides the most secure technology for archiving data. The following table provides a comparison of optical archive media to other storage media.


 Optical UDO Media



True Write Once

True Immutable WORM

Firmware enforced WORM

Software enforced WORM


50+ year media life

  7 to 10 year life

3 to 5 year life

Disaster Recovery 

Removable low cost offsite DR support

Removable low cost offsite DR support

Not removable, requires separate backup solution 

Access to Data

High-speed, random access 

Sequential access 

High-speed random

Cost of Ownership

Low long-term cost

Low long-term cost

High long-term cost

Technology  Phase change optical/ Extremely reliable data life Magnetic / susceptible to magnetic fields, heat, humidity, breakage & tensioning issues Magnetic / low reliability; susceptible to magnetic fields, mechanical failures, power surges

Archiving Media - Professional Optical Archive Media Evolution

Optical media was first introduced to the market in the 1970’s. With the introduction of the CD-ROM, users now had the ability to record data on a new form of removable storage. But at that point in time, based on the technologies available, the optical media was not sufficiently stable for usage in professional storage solutions for businesses.

Over the next decade, through the initial advancements achieved by commercial organizations such as Phillips LMS, Plasmon, a predecessor to ASTI and one of the initial inventors of the CD-ROM, advanced the technology to the point where it met the resiliency and reliability level to store invaluable organizational data.

Optical Archive Media Timeline

The following graphic outlines the progressive development of professional archive grade media. mediatimeline

12” Ablative technology was first introduced, initially utilizing infrared lasers with a 12” form factor media. Capacity increased from an initial 2GB’s media to 5.6 GB’s and then 12GB. With the LD8000 series, Phase Change technology was then introduced, with the LD8000 utilizing red laser technology. Capacity was increased to 30GB’s per media.

Magneto-Optical technology (MO media) was introduced in the 1990’s, utilizing red lasers with a 120mm form factor media. Capacity increased from an initial 650MB to 9.1GB.

Phase Change technology was then introduced on a 130mm UDO media. Via the usage of blue laser technology, capacity has been increased from 30GB to 60GB’s per media.

Archiving Media -Optical Laser Type & Archive Media Capacity

Another important factor is the type of laser being utilized by the media’s optical drives to write and read data. The following illustration provides greatly enlarged examples of the comparative size of the laser when focusing on the media’s surface. Accordingly, the smaller the focal point of the laser, the higher the data density.

As exemplified below in the comparison of CD, DVD and UDO/Blu-ray, the magnified density of the recording surface clearly shows significant improvements based on the focal diameter of the laser.

Mark size of the laser on the media is determined by

  • Wavelength of the laser (spot size)
  • Power of the objective lens (spot size)
  • Pulse power and duration (pulse width)

Laser Size and Shape Comparison:


Optical Laser Comparison - Recording Density:


Where would you like to go from here?

Archiving Defined - What is data archiving?

Data archiving is part of an overall strategy for storing important corporate and government information using a secure method so that it is easily accessible at any time in the future. Most corporate data is important and is considered a digital asset that is saved on a data storage solution or an electronic archiving device.

After a short period, updates to the data are completed and records are closed as final versions. At that point, the data becomes inactive or fixed and needs to be retained for future reference. While there are several methods of storing these digital assets, a reliable technology that secures valuable data for extended periods must be considered. By implementing a digital archiving solution, cost-effective tiered storage management of corporate data can be realized.

Data Archiving is the process of moving fixed content (static) data to an archive data storage tier enabling efficient long-term retention of data. Although this data remains permanently fixed and stored in a secure location, it can be accessed and brought into use anytime. Creating an archive data storage tier maximizes efficiencies by moving data out of primary production systems onto secondary specialized long-term archival storage systems. Moving this inactive data out of production systems optimizes performance and resources while reducing data backup requirements.

Data archiving systems are specifically designed to permanently store valuable data to a cost-effective archive media that can be copied, removed and quickly and easily retrieved. Additionally archive systems facilitate compliance with legal, regulatory and corporate mandates for records retention, records management, litigation and e-discovery.

Archiving Defined - IT Challenges are Increasing

In today’s marketplace, data offers a competitive edge, increasing shareholder value and enabling quick response to new opportunities. However, there could be a number of obstacles standing in the way, including:

  • Regulatory compliance initiatives such as: Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), FRCP, SEC Section 17a-4, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), plus a host of other international regulations, that often overlap making compliance even more challenging than ever.
  • Compliance that mandates continue to proliferate with added retention and authenticity requirements.
  • Legal discovery processes that necessitate speedy access to archived data.
  • Time-consuming procedures to prove the authenticity of retained records.
  • Inaccessible data that is impossible to mine for business use.
  • Lack of incremental funds for managing the explosive growth of corporate storage requirements, with an estimated 80% of data being rarely accessed.

Archiving Defined - Key Professional Archive Solution Mandates

Data archiving provides a cost effective solution that addresses these challenges. Key capabilities that must be addressed include:

  • Data Authenticity
    • Secure hardware WORM (Write-Once-Read-Many) storage as provided by optical mediaarchiveimper
    • Ability to withstand chain-of-evidence scrutiny in court proceedings
  • Data Permanence
    • Worry-free archive media with an extended life expectancy (50 years or greater)
    • Impervious to environmental factors (temperature, humidity, handling, etc)
    • Disaster-level durability – submersion, dust/debris, terrorism (EMP), etc
  • Data Access
    • Immediate random file level access (not requiring restoration to magnetic disk from streaming devices such as tape)
  • Data Portability
    • 3-2-1 Archiving & Data Protection Best Practices (3 copies, on 2 media types, with 1 removable or remote)
    • Facilitate online, offline, replicated, off-site, and/or secure vaulted copies.
  • Low Total Cost of Ownership
    • Low cost per GB for archive storage
    • Low administrative overhead
    • Eliminating Tier-1 costs associated with archived data, such as redundant data backups and use of higher cost Tier-1 storage resources
    • Low power consumption – data at rest on media does not require any power 

Archiving Defined - Professional Archive Solutions Provide Efficient Storage Management

Industry analysts have reported for many years that approximately 80% of tier-1 corporate storage infrastructures consist of fixed content data that is rarely accessed, if ever. This data meets the definition of “Archive Data”, in that it is fixed content and not changing over time, which can be managed against defined data retention policies.eightypercentchart

Over time, the amount of archived data residing on Tier-1 storage will only dramatically increase. By implementing an intelligent data archiving strategy, significant cost reductions can be achieved by:

  • Automatically placing data on the right storage tier based on its life-cycle stage.
  • Better utilizing storage assets appropriately, with active data residing on Tier-1 storage while archive data is placed on a more appropriate archive storage tier.
  • Reducing the operational overhead associated with Tier-1 storage including storage management, backup, and replication costs.
  • Implementing an efficient data management policy which includes an archive storage strategy provides an efficient, cost effective storage management solution.

According to Gartner’s Carolyn DiCenzo, IT executives should strive to separate fixed content data to an active archive, following a 3-2-1 strategy (3 copies of the data, on 2 different types of media, with 1 being removable and off-site).

Where would you like to go from here?

Customer Testimonials

Read what our customers are saying about us.

Sangamon County Ciruit Clerk's Office

“Our major issue was time lost chasing documents. With the implementation of the archive solution, retrieval times went from DAYS to SECONDS.”
Tony Libri, Sangamon County Circuit Clerk

Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care

“We had to determine what information was retrievable among the absolute chaos of the first week after Katrina…We were able to recover all of the patient images off the Plasmon libraries…We are now primarily using the Plasmon’s UDO Archive Appliance for its long-term recoverability.” – Kenneth Allen, Health Systems Specialist

AGFA Healthcare

“Ensuring that we could provide a PACS archive solution that helps customers meet HIPAA compliance at a reasonable cost was a critical requirement. This was guaranteed with the performance, longevity, and authenticity of the UDO Archive Appliance.” – Lenny Reznik, Director Enterprise Imaging and Information, Agfa Healthcare.