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Retiring application data to the cloud

IT departments struggling to keep legacy data alive should consider a new cloud-based storage offering from RainStor.

As the world pushes ahead with cloud computing and business users demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, many IT departments are struggling to keep legacy applications on life support. Many of these zombie applications are there only for storage and audit purposes, not for real-time data interaction.

Even if applications have been "turned off" the data continues to live on in databases and file stores, continuing to take up storage space and software licenses. The result is a state of paralysis, with application retirement merely a dream.

U.K.-based Clearpace recently unveiled a cloud-based data archiving service called RainStor. RainStor's technology is being used to solve a completely overlooked problem domain: application retirement. I spoke via e-mail with RainStor CTO Andy Ben-Dyke to understand how the service works and why it makes sense.

RainStor's Instant Application Retirement service works in 3 steps:

1. Send--Structured data from any RDBMS is automatically compressed by 40x or more, encrypted and sent to the cloud using a client-side software appliance. The extreme compression that is applied significantly reduces the time to transfer large volumes of data to the cloud.

2. Store--The encrypted data is stored in a private archive on Amazon's highly available and secure storage cloud (S3). Though compressed, the original schema format is preserved and RainStor is able to layer on additional archives which reflect any schema changes (e.g. add or delete of columns).

3. Search--Running on Amazon's highly scalable compute cloud (EC2) RainStor allows you to query data through any industry-standard reporting or BI tools over ODBC or JDBC with lightning speed. Providing "point-in-time" query capability based on its ability to store schema evolution changes.

The RainStor service can be had for as little as $1 per GB of data stored per month with no commitments, including Amazon storage and resource costs. Clearpace is also offering a 90 day free trial.

Given that there is a untold fortune of hardware and software tied up in legacy apps waiting to freed up, turning off those apps and sending the data to "heaven" in the clouds just seems like a no-brainer.

Follow me on Twitter @daveofdoom