Archiving HR Data

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Data archiving is the process of moving and storing inactive data to a separate location. It is the process of decongesting a database by removing data that is no longer required frequently or is not required at all but needs to be maintained. The volume of data is growing phenomenally each year and much of the data that remains in systems is inactive. Archiving data allows for it to be stored at a different location but provides easy accessibility when required. It is a step that allows a reduction in the data footprint of an organization. The process is carried out in a manner where this data is indexed and search capabilities are able to locate files or parts of files easily.

Data archiving is often confused with backups. It is not the same. Although archives may be a component of backup and recovery, data archiving differs from backups in that:

  • Archive retrievals are selective, whereas backups are just copies of data.
  • Archives are application oriented and backups are just about storage.

Why is Data Archived?

There are several reasons why data archiving has become a necessity.

  • The volume of data within organizations is growing much faster than had been imagined. Apart from just the volume, what spawns the need for archiving is the fact that the largest component of this volume is inactive data. This inactive data needs to be stored in an organized and structured fashion, easily accessible when required.
  • The large volume of data creates performance hurdles for the users, by making it take a long time to process even small bits of data.
  • Data in large volumes could trigger serious manageability issues. Every time some reorganization is required, it could well make the IT department reinvent the wheel!
  • Data archiving drastically brings down the cost of hardware, storage and maintenance as well
  • Data archiving done properly eliminates the need for wading through a tangled web and facilitates a transparent and hassle free end user experience
  • Reclaims the disc space for enhanced usage
  • The users of active data are able to deliver more as processing time is faster.

Key Considerations

Data archiving should be carried out in a planned and effective manner for deriving maximum benefit from the exercise. Archiving strategy calls for determining what data needs to be archived, the periodicity at which it needs to be archived, how long the archive needs to be maintained before it can be purged, in which format will archiving prove best etc.

Data is usually archived as table archives, file archives or a combination. A table archive is a set of tables from which data can be retrieved and accessed quickly. It is the better method for storing data, which would need to be accessed more frequently. A file archive is a traditional method of storing data as a flat file. This is the better method for storing data rarely accessed. However, this reduces storage costs to a large extent as data can be stored in tapes or optical format.

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