Information herein is ©2000, Graphic Dimensions, Pittsford, NY. All rights reserved.

Digital Workflow Storage

Several of the significant advancements in the realm of digital publishing have occurred as
a result of technological breakthroughs in the area of digital storage and retrieval. The
storage demands that are implicit in the digital publishing process require a means of
moving, storing and archiving large files, and usually, many of them. This need became
evident in the early days of desktop publishing, and accounted for the success of solutions
such as the SyQuest Disk Cartridge System, introduced in the early 1980s. The original
SyQuest cartridge, with a capacity of 44MB, quickly became a means of exchange between
customer and service bureau, client and printer, and virtually any two entities involved in
the digital production workflow.Although SyQuest technology evolved to greater
capacities, it was successfully challenged in 1995 by the introduction of the 100MB Zip disk
from Iomega.*
*Iomega purchased the assets of SyQuest in1999.

Most computers incorporate some form of extendable storage, either a floppy or Zip disk,
CD-R, or one or more network storage resources. Removable media relieves the user from
the need to store and maintain all of their files and programs on their local fixed hard drive.
Local storagemay be impractical, especially in a production environment wherein there is a
constant ebb and flow of very large files, which may not need to be accessed again soon, or
ever, after they have been output or processed into a final form. Removable storage has
several advantages, including:
Portability.Large documents or applications, jobs or projects can be kept together
on a single piece of media. This makes it easier to deliver large publications and
media projects to service providers for output or further processing, and for filing
them and retrieving them when needed.
Security.Removable media can be stored exclusive of the computer to which its
drive is connected. The media can be locked in a company safe, or stored off-site
for additional protection.
Distribution.A large amount of data can be duplicated and distributed to others,
either inside or outside the environment.
Durability.Most forms of removable media are rigid and can withstand frequent
handling, including mailing.
Sharing.The convenient and compact size of most forms of removable media
makes it an attractivemedium of exchangefor users of the same drive type. It can
replace the need for a file server or other similar network resource.
Back-up.The capacity of most forms of removable media is sufficient for backing-
up essential system software and applications, and archiving completed work. It
provides the peace of mind of knowing that the computer system can be restored
quickly and relatively easily. The integrity of the data can be assured by routinely
using a back-up application, and following conventional archiving practices and

Although there are several removable media technologies in use, only one, CD-ROM, is
even close to being a universal standard. CD, as well as DVD drives, having either read, or
read/write capabilities, are a standard component of virtually all computers. This is due to
several factors, the two most important being that software that is published on any form
of media is usually published on CD-ROM, and that low-cost CD-R (CD Recordable) media
and writers, have made the CD format highly popular. DVD-RAM drives, which represent
the next generation in removable storage technology,support a variety of CD and DVD
formats,and provide significantly greaterstorage capacity. A standard CD-ROM can
accommodate 650MB of data, while a DVD-ROM can store from 2.6GB to 17GB of data.

The CD-ROM format, although initially slow to be adopted by computer manufacturers
and users, is, today, a universal standard. It is being followed by the adoption of the DVD-
ROM format, which has lagged due to a lack of industry-wide standards and a high
acceptance rate of, and satisfaction level with, CD-ROM technology.

Off-line, On-line, and Near-line Storage.The major disadvantage of removable media is
that it is just that: removable. When it is out of its reader it isoff-line,and inaccessible. The
off-line storage of digital data necessitates some method of protecting the media, and filing
it for easy access. A CD-ROM containing a collection of commercial logos, for example, may
be a single digital resource that is shared by a group of designers. As an off-line resource it
may be kept in its jewel case on a shelf in a common area where it can be accessed,
manually, by any of the workers. This method has several disadvantages, all of which
negatively affect productivity:
• First, the designer who needs the disc must leave his or her workstation to retrieve
• Second, assuming that the designer can find the disc, he or she must check it out,
so that anyone seeking the disc will know where it is. It is also likely that at
various times one or more discs that are being sought will be in use by others, and
will necessitate contacting the person(s) and advising them of the need.
• Third, while the designer has the disc, no one else can use it.
• Fourth, when the designer has finished using the disc, he or she must again leave
their workstation and refile it.
A single disc can be both expensive and mission-critical, and due to its small size, can be
lost easily or misplaced. In addition, discs are plastic, and are susceptible to damage and
degradation through frequent use or mishandling.

The computer network, in any of its various topologies, has become the essential method
by which files are accessed, shared, and stored. The files and applications that are stored on
workstation and server hard drives are the most convenient, and the fastest, to access.
Workers do not have to leave their workstations to utilize them, which enhances their
efficiency and results in greater productivity. However, this method ofon-linestorage,
which is available immediately, tends to be the most expensive on a per megabyte basis. An
alternate solution for media-intensive work environments is an automated jukebox of some
kind that stores a number of optical discs or tapes for access over a network. This
configuration is referred to asnear-linestorage, since any disc or tape stored in the device
can be selected through a robotic mechanism and mounted in a reader for shared access.

Network Storage Methods.The need for digital storage has grownin direct proportion to
the production of information in digital formats. Andy Marken, Marken Communications,
estimates that less than 5% of the world’s data is in digital form, but that 60% of all data
generated today is in digital form from its inception.* Not only does this mean that a
tremendous amount of data is being created annually, but due to the low cost of storage,
and the high cost of labor,there is a strong tendency to retain everything. In general, it is
less expensive to add additional storage capacity than to expend the time to locate and
delete unneeded files.** Marken notes that “as the volume of data increases, the risks
increase accordingly.”
*Marken Communications, 3375 Scott Blvd. #108, Santa Clara, CA 95054, 408 986-0100, fax: 408 986-0162.
**This process of weeding through unneeded files is sometimes called “disk grooming.”

Storage, for the purpose of maintaining live data on-line, backing-up networkdata,
archiving completed work, and restoring data due to hardware failures, viruses, and other
problems,is an essential function for any enterprise. The function is so critically important
to the operation of a business that system administrators will typically pay considerably
morefor administering the storagefunction than for acquiring it.* As the cost of storage
continues to fall, the gap between the cost of its acquisition and the cost of its management
will continue to widen.** The managementoverhead has led to a trend to centralize storage
resources in a data center,or so-called “glass closet.”
*The Gartner Group estimates that management represents 80% of storage-related costs.
**The price-per-gigabytefell 40% from 1998 to 1999, and continues to decrease. “1999 Storage Systems
Outlook,” Robert C. Gray,Research Director,Storage Systems, International Data Corporation, 5 Speen St.,
Framingham,MA 01701, 508 872-8200,

Among the forces that are contributing to the digital storage problem is the use of e-mail,
which is a normal part of virtually every business operation. Digital publishers, like people
in all forms of business, use e-mail to contact customers (both present and potential),
colleagues, suppliers, contractorsand others. E-mail is saved routinely as a means of
documenting job and project details, and as part of normal business record keeping.The
volume of messagesis further impacted by the file attachments that often accompany them,
and which tend to be relatively large.

The managementof storageresources is directed toward two major areas: the planning,
acquisition, and deployment of storage devices and the networking that connects them,
and the administration of storagepolicies and practices that ensure the integrity and
availability of all enterprise data. Of course, some of the data managementtasks can be
automated through procedures such as Storage Resource Management, wherein certain
operations, such as archiving, are performed automatically according to a prescribed
schedule. Other data managementtasks, such as the elimination of early-to-late stage
production file versions, must be done manually.

There are several storage managementmethods, some hardware-specific, some procedural,
and some service-oriented, that are used routinely, either as the sole solution, or in concert
with others. In their various forms they may incorporate a mix of hard disk, tape, optical,

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