EMC is expected to introduce database archiving software in the first quarter of next year that will let customers improve the performance of their databases by migrating old data to less-expensive storage resources.

The company is set to introduce database archiving software it obtained through a partnership with start-up Outerbay Technologies. EMC said it will integrate Outerbay's Application Data Management (ADM) software into its own information management software. ADM is a suite of software that relocates dormant structured database transactions to online archives stored on more cost-effective servers and storage devices.

EMC already has software for archiving data. Earlier this year it acquired Legato Systems and with it the company's EmailXtender software, which archives semi-structured e-mail messages as they age and need to be retained for regulatory reasons. EMC also recently acquired Documentum, a company that makes a variety of content management software, including archiving tools for unstructured content such as spreadsheets and video.

The market for archiving structured database information is growing as companies realise the necessity of not only protecting and retaining dormant data but also migrating it to other storage resources to increase the performance and efficiency of production databases.

"By law, companies have to keep information around," says Charlie Garry, an analyst with Meta Group. "But there's also a practical limit as to how large a database can be before you can no longer meet your service-level agreements for performance, recovery and backup. Initially customers want to get the data out of the production database, so the database doesn't have to slog through a whole bunch of data that no one cares about but can't get rid of."

The market for database archiving is relatively small. Only four companies focus on archiving information from databases and database applications - Princeton-Softech has 56 percent of the market, followed by Outerbay, Applimation and IXOS Software, said Gartner. Applimation's software only archives Oracle database information; IXOS focuses on SAP and Siebel Systems and Outerbay and Princeton-Softech's software runs on databases from IBM, Informix, Microsoft, Oracle and Sybase.

Mark Deck, director of infrastructure technology for National Medical Healthcard, a pharmacy benefit manager in Port Washington, New York, is looking at database archiving.

"We may do selective pruning - we'll write our own extracts and then move the stuff to appropriate storage rather than archive out to tape," Deck says. "Certainly, we want to archive data so we can increase the performance of our Oracle databases. As your storage grows, you face more than one thing - you face performance problems, space and time it takes to back up and restore."

Organisations also need to create policies that specify how long data will be retained, when to migrate it from one storage resource to another and how to get data back in the event it is needed. In database archiving, the software needs to be able to find and migrate individual rows of data to another source rather than the file-level migrations most hierarchical storage management products use. Meta Group estimates the market for database archiving software will grow from less than US$1 billion today to $4 billion by the end of 2007.

EMC, which also markets its Centera system for storing content-addressable storage - data that does not change over time -sees database archiving software as an essential part of its portfolio. The company presently partners not only with OuterBay for archiving software, but with Princeton-Softech and IXOS.