OTG Manages Database Storage

Several years ago, storagevendors introduced a technology – called Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)– that helped to facilitate the automatic movement of so-called “aged” filesfrom physical disk to tape and to optical storage media. HSM was a good idea,to be sure, but only very few vendors – LegatoSystems Inc. and Computer Associates Int’lInc. among them – were able to effectively mate it with relational databasemanagement systems (RDBMS).

With the release of its DiskExtender Database Edition (DXDB), On The Go (OTG)Software Inc. now expects to add its name to that list, as well.

HSM’s biggest selling pointhas traditionally been the total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) andreturn-on-investment (ROI) advantages that it purports to deliver. Using HSM,enterprise IT organizations can maintain frequently accessed data on fast physicaldisk subsystems and at the same time move less frequently accessed datato magnetic tape or to optical disk. This means that IT organizationsdon’t necessarily have to invest in (as many) costly physical disksubsystems to accommodate their data storage requirements.

Although DXDB isn’t strictlyan HSM solution, iper se, t’s nonetheless able to integrate with an RDBMS suchas Oracle 8i in order to “virtualize” database storage and effectively segmentdata among physical disk, tape and optical storage media.

According to OTG Softwareproduct manager Mark Brando, whether they like it or not, today’s databaseadministrators (DBA) often find themselves trying to manage ever-expandingstorage pools.

“Database administratorstypically don’t want to be bothered by storage, so when the storage guys comealong and install this product in conjunction with the database administrator,it makes her life a little easier because she doesn’t have to worry about diskspace,” he points out.

In this respect, Brando saysthat DXDB can manage a variety of combinations of physical disk, tape oroptical storage media without requiring application modifications or changes tothe ways in which database queries are processed.

“Because it doesn’t requireany modification to existing database structures, users can access data withoutregard for how frequently it’s accessed and without any changes to SQL queriesor applications,” adds Brando.

Like HSM, DXDB moves less frequentlyaccessed data to tape or to optical storage media. Brando acknowledge that apractice of this kind incurs a performance penalty – “You’re talking thedifferent between several milliseconds to maybe a few seconds to run a query” –but says that this is par for the course with any HSM-like solution.

Its TCO and ROI nicetiesnotwithstanding, however, OTG Software representatives maintain that DXDB’sbiggest selling point could be its scalability.

“[DXDB] allowsadministrators to expand their storage to multi-terabyte and even to petabytelevels,” says Jocelyn Johnson, director of strategic marketing for OTGSoftware.

Customers are impressed.Kirby Accardo, a VP of loan documentation with Whitney National Bank, says thatDXDB was just what his company needed.

“OTG could do exactly whatwe needed -- which was storage and retrieval -- and we could grow intoadditional capabilities like workflow. With other products, it was all ornothing,” he concludes.  Stephen Swoyer