A conversation with George Symons, Yosemite's CEO, was illuminating about archives and backup software. Fresh thinking is flooding though the backup vendors' halls.

In the days when an archive was a collection of backup tapes - still the case for many, many companies - then the metadata stored by the backup software pertained to locating files in the backup container sets on the tape cartridges. Now archives have to do more, such as be responsive to requests from compliance regulators or open to legal discovery activities.

A tape-centric archive is not good at either. You can't tell it to find all files relating to widget Y or subject Z which is what compliance people or legal beagles might want. George Symons said that from this point of view: "It's very hard to find things," in a traditional collection-of-tapes archive.

It seems that this kind of archive function is growing and it would be good to make the investigation of an archive's contents easier and more effective. Inside Yosemite there are thoughts about how this might be done. Achieving it would mean generating and keeping more metadata about files going into the archive. How much metadata needs adding to the existing backup indices?

This takes us into the realm of the data classifiers and indexers, the Kazeon-like companies. It also leads consideration into how such technology could be obtained. Should it be built? Should it be bought? Should it be accessed through a partnership arrangement?

Up until a year ago, or even more recently with some backup software vendors, you couldn't be having such discussions. The backup-to-tape world was a closed and inward looking one. Not any more. With the arrival of disk as a valid media for storing protected data a surge of fresh thinking is flooding through the backup halls and washing away traditional preconceptions. Watch out for fresh products arising as a result of this fresh thinking.