As I look at the space surrounding storage, backup, and analytics today, the one thing that truly sets these pieces apart, in my opinion, is metadata.
I first became aware of the key relevance of Metadata years ago when I was providing engineering services on old-school document management systems. Soft Solutions was the tool for which I provided the support. The software, targeted toward larger legal environments allowing for rapid discovery of key documentation surrounding case law, and the better a document could be profiled, key-word searches, etc., author, client, and related case research. The better the profile assigned to each document and revision, the better the search and metadata surrounding it.
Time moved forward, and metadata no longer required such critical profiling, as the profile became an automatically generated, file-based, and more generic types of metadata. For example, the creation data, maybe some geographic data, file size, and creator had been automatic. Simple keyword search could be wrapped in, though, often at that point, the profile of these documents would add more relevant data as it related to the specific industry toward which that organization focused.
Nowadays, the categories of searchable metadata provide far more insight into these files. A key category toward which this provides relevance is backup and recovery. When attempting a restore of a document or set of documents, the quicker an administrator is able to locate that recovery set, the quicker the restoration can be accomplished. In the modern arena of backup, the handling of this metadata is likely the most important detail of that backup. Metadata, in these cases, can give you the nearest, and most recent version of that restoration, allowing that administrator to retrieve that piece as rapidly and accurately as possible. How is that search accomplished, and what tool is leveraged for that search? In Rubrik’s solution, for example, a Google search engine is employed to respond with all the relevant search results against the key data wrapped into the search. Druva keeps a local copy or cloud-based copy in a dynamoDB based database (extremely scalable and quick), providing rapid access to those search results. These are just a couple of current approaches. No doubt, other modern architectures, with differing approaches can solve these problems adequately, and aggressively.
In the old days, an individual administrator would have to rely on best-guesses to determine on which tape that data may reside, recall that tape from the offsite storage facility, and hope that the data would be in a recoverable state on that tape once the tape arrived on-site. Even in the best of circumstances, there’d be an extreme lag-time between the request for recovery and the delivery of that data. In modern architectures, that issue is resolved at a measurable level.
Truly, the metadata, that is the data about the data itself, at a minimal level proves itself to be identifiably significant to the procedure of backup and recovery and has been proven to be most critical to these procedures.
In future postings, I’ll address metadata criticalities as it comes to how deriving business, accounting, and sales values against the data becomes an easier task for garnering the true values of your data within your existing information allowing for the leveraging of that data toward the moving forward of your business-critical approaches. Ultimately, the value of your data adding to your business’ agility against it.