Crump: Establishing a geographical data retention policy

Planning ahead for what location to store data can result in a range of options for a data retention policy, depending on the nature of the data and the role it plays in a recovery effort.

"From a backup guy perspective, it's all about the data," George Crump, founder of Storage Switzerland, told his Storage Decision audience. "Obviously, there's an application issue here: If part of your RPO/RTO is to get applications running … then you're going to need to have the ability to facilitate that."

He noted that some applications will have narrow recovery point or recovery time objectives (RPO/RTO), but administrators should be sure that, in their data retention policy, such measures are taken only for the applications that require that level of support.

"There's going to be a whole host of applications that just don't have that recovery requirement," Crump said.

He said in such cases, cost efficiency should be an important strategy. Administrators should also make sure their data retention policy allows them to look for ways to help roll data off of a device and back into the production environment as quickly as possible.

Crump said there is still a role for physical tape, particularly in archive.

"Tape is very transportable," he said. "I always say, 'Don't underestimate the bandwidth of a FedEx truck loaded with tapes.' Don't rule out tapes as part of disaster recovery, just apply it correctly."

He noted that most disasters tend to be short-lived, some lasting only a few hours. He said the only data that is recovered during those situations is for mission-critical applications.

"Generally, [if] your local archive [is] in a disaster, no one is going to say, 'We need that data that is six years old,'" Crump said.

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