IT Archeology

IT and the storage of data have of course changed out of all recognition over the past 40 years. The current crop of latest computer science graduates are working on the latest computers, with the latest applications and modern computer languages that are typically pretty high level. As organizations evolve to cater to the high capacity and fast bandwidth requirement of current business this is of course the way forward. However, the value of data already created is becoming more useful due in part to better analytics. The requirement to preserve data due to legal, regulatory or business needs has also increased. Certain market verticals and industries have requirements to store data for longer, and some have business value in long term retentions.

One of the very difficult situations that have evolved is how to preserve and how to restore old or legacy data. Twenty years ago a leading cause of failure to read old tapes was as a result of the degradation of the backup media itself. These days it is more to do with either the unavailability of suitable hardware, or the release of more current versions of the same software that no longer can restore completely (or at all) the originally created data. The frequency with which an organization might need to access data that is very old normally decreases as it ages, and in very many cases it is not accessed ever. As a result IT departments can happily develop with the latest hardware and software somewhat ignorant of the fact that they can no longer retrieve data that the organization has backed up or archived. The IT department will very likely have sunset this old equipment, and saved expense by not having to pay OEM maintenance charges.

However, there are instances when this very old data needs to be read. In many cases the IT department may not even know what the media is, let alone what hardware and software combination is required. When this type of situation occurs the organization needs an "IT Archeologist", that is someone who has very likely been around storage in IT for many years and can apply that vast knowledge to create a strategy to restore the data. At SullivanStrickler we like to consider ourselves as IT Archeologists. We started in IT storage as long ago as 1980, and have written applications that read everything from original floppy disks to the very latest servo tracked tape cartridges. We have kept the equipment, archived countless backup software versions from all sorts of operating environments like early mainframe, through different flavors of UNIX and of course windows. We were involved in the development of many types of tape technologies ourselves, like 9 track tape, DLT, 3590, LTO, QIC and more. We have worked with older interfaces like Bus & Tag, Pertec, Serial and Parallel etc. We have cracked backup software formats to enable the reading of media outside of the native environment in which the data was created. In short we are IT Archeologists and if you need information about some very old pieces of IT storage technology or media, there is a good chance we can help figure out how to go about the data's retrieval.

Contact us today to learn more