Creativity is required.

Author:Leeuw, Guus, Jr.
Position:Storage Expo 2008 - Storage of computer information

Any piece of electronic information needs to be stored somewhere and somehow. This should guarantee access to that piece of information over the years. You want that information backed up, in case a disaster strikes, so that you can restore and access it again. For some information, a need exists to keep it for a long period of time, 3 or 7 years. Let's focus on backup and restore for a moment. Often times, a system or its data is backed up for disaster recovery purposes. Tapes are then eventually sent off-site for safe storage. Such tapes must be re-introduced to a restore environment. What happens with the tape while it is in secure storage is often unknown to the Enterprise.

A tape that is sent for off-site storage contains some form of catalogue to identify the tape and the contents thereof. This catalogue, in extreme cases, must hold enough information to retrieve the stored data, even if one had to re-install a new backup environment due to disaster. Backup solutions conforming to the NDMP standard could utilise a prodescribed recipe to store the data on the tape, in form of well-quantified storage records. Anybody with a conforming reader application could then retrieve the data off the tape and try to inspect it. This is a potential security risk, especially in light of recent events of lost data and the concern that that caused with the general public. It would be good if the backups were duly encrypted so that even a good hacker cannot crack the contents of the tape, which is supposedly important, considering that a lot of Government Agencies deal with private data. Equally important is the fraud that we hear about so often in the news lately: Thrownaway computers that get shipped to some far-away location, where the hard disks are inspected for private data such as credit card and other "useful" information. It would be good if a PC had a little program that wipes all data securely off the disk, before people turn it off one last time. Governments have done what it takes to support this kind of security: Air Force System Security Instructions 5020, CESG, German VSITR, just to name a few. Tools are not hard to fred, however they are generally not for free, and in my opinion, Governments can do more to publish the availability of this type of product.

Talking of storage, let's focus on the part of the storage infrastructure that is mostly "forgotten", but very critical: the fibre optical network between the...

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