grate to a central archive function that
is compressed and de-duplicated, po-
tentially with compliance and whatever
other disaster recovery features that you
might want. Once data is in this archive
and has certain known properties, the
enterprise storage manager can con-
trol how it is accessed. They may have
copies out on the edges of the network
for performance reasons—maybe it’s
flash, maybe its high-performance
disks, maybe it’s something else—but
for all that data there’s a central access
and control point.
mache cReeGeR: So people should be
looking at building a central archival
store that has known properties. Then,
once a centralized archive is in place,
people can take advantage of other
features, such as virtualization or de-
duplication, and not sweat the periph-
eral/edge storage stuff as much.
steVe Kleiman: I do that today at
home, where I use a service that backs
up all the data on my home servers to
the Internet. When I tell them to back
up all my Microsoft files, the Microsoft
files don’t go over the network. The
service knows that they don’t have to
maRY BaKeR: I’m going to disagree a
little bit. One of the things I’ve been do-
ing the last few years is looking at how
people and organizations lose data.
There’s an amazing richness of ways in
which you can lose stuff and a lot of the
disaster stories were due to, even in a
virtual sense, a centralized archive.
There’s a lot to be said for having
those edge copies under other admin-
istrative domains. The effectiveness
of securing data in this way depends
on how seriously you want to keep the
data, for how long, and what kind of
threat environment you have. The con-
venience and economics of a central-
ized archive are very compelling, but
it depends on what kinds of risks you
want to take with your data over how
long a period of time.
maRGo seltzeR: What happens if
Steve’s Internet archive service goes
out of business?
steVe Kleiman: In my case, I still have
a copy. I didn’t mean to imply that the archive is in one location and that there’s
only one copy of that data in the archive.
It’s a distributed archive, which has bet-
ter replication properties because you
want that higher long-term reliability.
From the user’s point, it’s a cloud that
you can pull documents out of.
eRiK RieDel: The general trend for the
last several years is for more distribu-
tion, not less. People use a lot of high-
capacity, portable devices of all sorts,
such as BlackBerrys, portable USB de-
vices, and laptops. For a system admin-
istrator, the ability to capture data is
much more threatening today. Five or
10 years ago all you had to worry about
were tightly controlled desktops. To-
day things are a great deal more com-
I was at a meeting where someone
predicted that within two or three
years, corporations were going to allow
you to buy your own equipment. You’d
buy your own laptop, bring it to work,
and they’d add a little bit of software to
it. But even in the age in which corpo-
rate IT departments control your lap-
top and desktop, certainly the train has
left the station on BlackBerrys, USBs,
and iPods. So for a significant segment
of what the administrator is responsi-
ble for, pulling data back into a central
store is not going to work.
mache cReeGeR: That flies in the face
of Steve’s original argument.
steVe Kleiman: I don’t think so. I do
think that there will be a lot of distrib-
uted data that will be on the laptops.
There will be some control of that data,
perhaps with DRM mechanisms. Re-
member, in an enterprise the family
jewels are really two things: the bits on
the disks and the brain cells in the peo-
ple. Both are incredibly important and
for the stuff that the enterprise owns,
that it pays its employees to produce,
it’s going to want to make sure those
bits exist in a secure place and not just
on somebody’s laptop. There may be a
copy encrypted on somebody’s laptop
and the enterprise may have the key,
but in order for the company to assert
intellectual property rights on those
bits, you are going to have to centrally
manage and secure them in some way,
shape, or form.
eRic BRe WeR: I agree that’s what cor-
porations want, but the practice may
be quite different.
steVe Kleiman: That’s the part I disagree with because part of the employee
contract is that when they generate bits
that are important to the company, the