Backup and recovery specialist Data Domain is moving into archiving, by adding file locking software to its de-duplicating storage systems. The software - called Retention Lock - is designed to deal with regulatory compliance and IT governance issues by protecting archived data from accidental or malicious deletion.

The company claimed that Retention Lock will allow its storage systems to hold compliance data that requires the sort of WORM (write-once, read-many) capabilities usually associated with optical disks and specialist content archives.

"Where most de-duplication products can address either backup or archive storage, Data Domain can do both, enabling users to consolidate around a single architecture," claimed Brian Biles, Data Domain's VP of product management.

He added, "Retention Lock provides extraordinary flexibility for archiving operations, so it can be used with backup data, email archives, database archives or unstructured data archives with equal ease, all at high de-duplication throughput.”

The software can lock a file for a specific length of time, using industry-standard schemes for securing NAS content. During a file's retention period, users cannot alter or delete it, although administrators can be given policy control if regulations require it - for example, if data must be deleted under court order or according to privacy legislation.

The combination of data locking with de-duplication is a powerful one, according to Yong Leong, ICT manager at the Department of Water in Perth, Australia, which was an early user of Retention Lock.

"By leveraging Data Domain with Retention Lock, our critical data is retained securely on disk for pre-defined time periods, at a fraction of capacity required to store it on traditional disk storage systems," Leong said. "Retention Lock also lets us react to changing security requirements and policies, reducing our management costs.”

The use of existing file locking techniques means that the new software interoperates with archiving tools from the likes of EMC, CommVault, Symantec, AXS-One and DataGlobal, according to Biles.

He said that Retention Lock can be applied to any file on a Data Domain system, whether it is from a backup, archive or other nearline application. Locked files may be replicated for disaster recovery or WAN vaulting, and all locks will be retained across links.