Ten Things You Should Know about Document Storage
Author: Manuel J. Montesino
Documents have to be stored not only during
their current periods but for years thereafter
(forever in some cases). Statutory and litigation
requirements and preservation of history, for
example, make such storage necessary. Storing
documents needs storage media, which costs
money. Hence, it is important to optimize
document storage by removing unwanted
documents at the earliest time and avoiding
redundancy of documents.
1. Government regulations stipulate that different kinds of documents be
preserved for specified periods, such as seven years. Litigation possibility
requires that documents that might be needed as evidence in a lawsuit be
preserved as long as there is a remote possibility that a lawsuit might be
filed. For these and other reasons, document storage for long periods
should be understood as unavoidable.
2. Documents are stored on storage devices ranging from paper and filing
cabinets to microfilm, magnetic tape, hard disks, CD/DVD and solid state
devices like flash drives. The media differ in terms of costs, durability of
stored data, ease of handling and portability.
3. Storage can be primary as when data is stored on on‐line hard disks and can
be accessed in milliseconds by the system. It can be stored on less expensive
secondary near‐line media such as robotic devices that retrieve and mount
needed media as called for by the system in seconds. Data can also be stored
on least cost (and safer) off‐line in removable media as backup or archive, to
be accessed infrequently if necessary.
4. On‐line storage is necessary for frequently used current data. If too much
data is stored on‐line, it can affect system performance, slowing it down.
Hence, it is a good practice to remove infrequently used data to secondary or
5. Secondary storage media are near‐line in that the data can be made
accessible in seconds. The data is stored on removable media that are
stacked in a device with robotic arms. On receiving a system command, the
arm will retrieve a selected media and mount it on an on‐line drive. This
operation is typically performed in seconds so that there is no appreciable
delay in accessing the data in secondary storage.
6. Data is stored off‐line on removable media not only because they are used
infrequently but also because the media can be stored away in less expensive
and safer premises. For example, backups of data will be needed only if the
primary data is lost and can be stored in separate premises so that events
like a fire at the primary location do not affect the backup.
7. It is a common practice to monitor the access rates to different types of on‐
line data and move the infrequently accessed types to near‐line storage. This
can be done automatically and can optimize system performance.
8. The media stored in the near‐line storage devices are catalogued so that the
system knows where each piece of data resides and can command the robotic
arm to retrieve just the right disk and mount it on‐line, when the need arises.
9. Offline storage protects data from the risks to which on‐line data are exposed
to, such as virus and hacker attacks, power fluctuations and system crashes.
Remote storage of off‐line data can even protect it from natural disasters like
fire, flood and earthquakes that might affect data stored on the primary
10. Electronic data can suffer from readability problems if they are stored long in
the same format. File formats, storage media devices and software
applications can all go through major changes as Information Technology
changes. This can render old data unreadable. One solution to this problem is
to transfer the old data to new format media on a regular basis.
Data that are needed for current processing needs are stored on on‐line storage
media such as hard disks and RAID systems. Data that might be needed only
infrequently can be stored on near‐line robotic devices with the ability to make
them accessible in seconds. Backup and archival data are typically stored on off‐line
media that can also be stored remotely to keep them away from dangers like a fire at
the primary location.
Ademero, Inc. develops document storage system. Based largely on user
experience, the company's flagship product, Content Central™, is a browser‐based
Document Management Systems created to provide businesses and other
organizations with a convenient way to capture, retrieve, and manage information
originating in hard copy or digital form. Access a live preview of this Electronic
Document Management System by visiting the Ademero web site.