Stop Talking about Backups Tapes!!!


Bookshelf of backup tapesThis isn’t a rant against backup tapes in IT infrastructure. This isn’t a rant about how backup strategies need to change. It is a rant about all the people that depend on backups for managing information.

Stop it!

Backup tapes are to restore your system when things go wrong. Period. If you have to keep something, don’t use tapes. There are other ways. There are several archive vendors out there that will gladly take your phone calls.

Tapes are even worse for this than other backup methods. Tapes degrade. Tapes become corrupted. Tapes are easy to lose. Tapes get out of order. Tapes take up space that we are trying to save by going digital.

Tapes take information offline and away from people.

Tapes hold redundant information. When you are creating a collection of information, and you restore those tapes, the cost is going to escalate. If you are lucky, you will find 20% more new information to the total collection of information.

Running out of storage in your systems? Move storage to the cloud.

Want a more managed collection? There are hosted archiving services that will meet your needs that won’t create duplicate data.

Is Email the problem? Move your entire email system to the cloud. Most have HUGE amounts of default storage and have archiving capabilities to protect users from themselves.

What about the tapes?

Do what I did when I was a CIO. Take incremental backups every night. Take full backups every weekend. Keep 2 weeks of backups and then re-use the tapes. Every few months, replace tapes before they wear out and destroy the old ones.

Or better yet, move your backups off of tape.

If someone accidently deletes something, backups are not the answer. If a system dies, backups are the answer. If a storage array dies, backups are the answer.

Backups are for protection against catastrophe. They are not for retention, archiving, or compliance in any form. Stop using them that way.

If keep using backups this way you deserve every headache that you get.

Reports from the Content Management Frontier


The following are excerpts from an explorer hiking the Gartner Hype Cycle for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies.

Day 1, Reached the Peak

Today we finally reached the Peak of Inflated Expectations. The view is simply amazing. This technology is going to revolutionize everything. Everyone is excited and  teaming up with their friends. Documentum just got some great new equipment from EMC. I suspect that those two will be very happy together for a long time.

Life is good.

Day 2, Getting Crowded

Apparently everyone is excited and more and more people are joining us on the Peak. While the view is still lovely, they ground is starting to get muddy from all the people trampling everywhere.

Stellent showed up with their new pal Oracle. Everyone thinks they are a bunch of posers but they are mostly keeping quiet because Oracle has a bit of a temper.

There seems to be a new noise. I’m going to go check it out.

Day 4, Ooops

That noise from the other day? That was the beginning of an avalanche that carried the entire group off of the Peak. According to our maps we are in the Trough of Disillusionment. It is hard to validate because nobody can get a clear signal anymore. It is a bit gloomy but some people seem to think we can get out.

OMG! Open Text ate Hummingbird while we were sleeping! They must be panicking already.

Tensions are very high.

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Box and Dropbox Race for Long-Term Relevancy


The Spanish InquisitionIn case you missed it, Dropbox has followed the path blazed by Box and has integrated with Microsoft Office. While Box integrated on the desktop, Dropbox is integrating with the Office mobile apps and plans to extend it to the Online Office versions. This is a no-brainer move as anything that simplifies people’s ability to work with content within Dropbox helps keep people using both tools.

On top of all this, Microsoft announced that their Android and iOS versions of Office will now be free. Microsoft is clearly trying to maintain their edge on the office productivity world and Dropbox is aiming to stay in front of people’s eyeballs.

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Celebrating Women of Technology, My Mother and Her Sister


World's Most Dificult Jigsaw Puzzle, Leprechaun StyleFor Ada Lovelace Day, I was all set to write a post on making the tech industry more welcoming to women. I was almost done with that post when I decided that it was the wrong focus for today. I want to celebrate inspiring women in tech. Instead of picking from a slate of relatively well-known women or scrounging together some research on lesser known ones, I thought I’d target some people closer to home.

My mother and her sister.

I could say that a PhD in Biochemistry and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering is enough to inspire, but there is more. Diplomas sit on walls. It is their journey to those degrees and how they live their lives that show the impact.

What was that impact? Three of my four women 1st cousins work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). In fact, in my generation, if you earned a college degree, the men were less likely to be in STEM than the women.

That is an impact.

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EMC’s Faulty Perception of Content Management


How I Met Your Mother Spit TakeWhile at the Monktoberfest last week, I had the luck to run into some people from EMC.  Not just any folk from EMC, they were from “core”, the storage side of the business. After convincing them that I knew enough about EMC to have a real conversation, we discussed Documentum and the Information Intelligence Group (IIG) where Documentum sits.

The talk quickly turned to why Documentum did not live up to the potential they had when EMC acquired them. While I have many opinions, I thought I’d get their opinion. It was a little surprising.

They didn’t adopt Virtual fast enough.

There have been a lot of missteps over the years, but that wasn’t one of them. I was selling Documentum during the rise of VMWare and I can state this for a fact, I NEVER lost a deal because Documentum didn’t support virtual machines.

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Why Should We Get Out of Email?


Moses from History of the World Part 1Last week I had the privilege of having dinner with a brilliant gentleman from my college days, Alex. Some may know of Alex as he the person who is responsible for my moniker, “Pie.” We had a great conversation that was mostly devoid of ‘remember when’ threads.

Alex is an independent lawyer in a city in the southern US. He has been practicing for quite some time and after delving into what I do for a living, he went into a rant on legal discovery, both paper and electronic.

He flat out accused many law firms of making large discovery requests in order to make money reviewing the results. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the billable hours accrued can turn a tidy profit for a law firm. He even shared a story of one case when the amount of discovery turned out to be very small and the firm dropped the case as they wouldn’t be able to make money from it.

While not all firms are like that, it does trigger certain behaviors and advice that in the grand scheme should not occur. We should be working to do what is right for our organization without being scared of ‘what if’ scenarios.

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Box Just Threw Down the Gauntlet


Clint Eastwood as Dirty HarryLast week, Box held their annual conference. Many announcements were expected and the announcement of Workflow coming to Box in 2015 was quite exciting. If you want a high-level look at everything that happened, check out Chris Walker’s quick thoughts on BoxWorks.

None of that is why I am writing this post.

Buried in the wave of tweets were two game-changing announcements. Box announced Retention Management and Auto-Classification of Content.

That’s right. Information Governance behind the scenes on an application that people actually use AND a way to get content in the right retention bucket without people having to intervene.

All in the cloud.

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