Re: Database Retention Question

  • From: Mladen Gogala <gogala.mladen@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:53:24 -0400

On 04/27/2017 03:19 PM, Scott Canaan wrote:

That’s an interesting idea, however according to Legal, we have to be able to retrieve the data through the database software to ensure it is as it was at the time it was frozen. The issue being that if we were to write it out to flat files, that introduces doubt as to whether it is exactly the same. Talking to Legal has been very enlightening.

Well, dr Ted Codd and Chris Date have created their "relational model" because it was very practical. It was modelled after so called "naive set theory" and was using the table model, so popular among accountants. There are reasons for using RDBMS:

 * Database enforces business rules through constraints and triggers
 * Database is transactional. Database transactions are modelled after
   business transactions.
 * Databases have recovery models that recover transactions up until
   the certain point in time.

Flat files cannot do any of the above. However, with laws like HIPAA, SOX or PCI, there is so called "seven years itch", the data has to be preserved for 7 years. Now, that presents a problem: not only are the RDBMS versions changing in 7 years, it will be hard to read the media. In 2010, 7 years ago, the pervasive tape format was LTO-2. Today, we have LTO-7. Of course, LTO-7 unit cannot read LTO-2 cartridge, period. There is no good solution for all of those problems. It is possible to avoid using tapes by switching to something like Amazon Glacier, which takes care of the tape format. However, you cannot use rman backup, because it will not be possible to restore it in 7 years. Using export utilities like expdp is not really an option with a multi-TB database, because it would take forever and a day. I don't have a good solution for that.

Mladen Gogala
Oracle DBA
Tel: (347) 321-1217

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