Real long-term archiving made simple: FileLock as the perfect archiving solution

“While archive solutions in many companies are considered obsolete after a few years and sometimes completely replaced, we have to think in terms of much longer cycles when archiving. In addition to compliance with the strict regulations, our archives must still be accessible and function reliably even after 30 years. With the FileLock archive software from GRAU DATA, we have found exactly the solution that uncompromisingly fulfills all of our requirements.”

Archiving business-relevant and sensitive data is a must for most companies. However, some industries have very special and high demands on the archiving of their data. Werum IT Solutions, for example, is one of the leading international companies in manufacturing execution systems (MES) and manufacturing IT solutions for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in a much more sensitive business than most companies. Data archiving is characterized by extremely long retention times and very strict regulations. Werum IT Solutions has solved this challenge with the WORM archive software FileLock from GRAU DATA.

Werum IT Solutions’ manufacturing IT solutions help pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase the efficiency of their production, increase productivity and meet regulatory requirements. And exactly the latter was at the disposal of Werum IT Solutions’ IT department at the end of 2017. The company was looking for a solution that, on the one hand, archived the highly sensitive data reliably and revision-proof in accordance with international regulations and, on the other hand, was easy to use and largely independent of technology in the long term.

Quick decision for the right solution

In mid-2017, the IT managers at Werum IT Solutions researched new, legally compliant long-term archiving. The future system should definitely be software-based and should not consist of software and hardware. The reason: With pure software, you are much more independent in the long term than with hardware. While hardware is subject to a very fast life cycle and after a relatively short time is hardly compatible with more modern systems, software remains ready for use in the long term.

This requirement was particularly important because Werum IT Solutions is bound by the regulatory requirements of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration): Data for the pharmaceutical industry must be kept for between ten and 15 years, data for biotechnology even up to 30 years – mind you after the end the production.

After a short time, possible solution providers were identified, including GRAU DATA, which the IT specialists were familiar with from previous projects. After a detailed analysis of all options of the providers, the decision was made in favor of GRAU DATA. On the one hand, the reliable and proven technology, but also the support from GRAU DATA was decisive. On the other hand, the hardware independence of the software solution is exactly what Werum IT Solutions was looking for.

The FileLock archive solution offers cost-effective and audit-proof WORM archiving of data on NTFS file systems. The software is hardware independent, can be used with any hard disk infrastructure already installed and can be used in both real and virtualized environments.

The replication with hash value comparison and the integrated automatic failover in the cluster guarantee secure long-term archiving of sensitive data. FileLock archives data according to current compliance guidelines: In addition to GoBD, SEC, BAO, GeBÜV, WORM archiving also complies with the strict requirements of the FDA, which is particularly important for Werum IT Solutions.

“At the beginning it was not clear which of the GRAU DATA archive solutions was the most sensible for our needs. But in detailed discussions with the archiving specialists, it quickly became clear that GRAU DATA FileLock was the perfect solution for our requirements,” explains Thorsten Harnisch, Senior Team Leader Business IT Services at Werum IT Solutions.

In early 2018, GRAU DATA FileLock was installed at Werum IT Solutions and the first tests could start. The IT managers set up their own environment for archiving the data packages. A new HyperV instance was specially built for FileLock on Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd servers. This ensures a high degree of independence from the hardware, because the virtual server can be ported to a new hardware platform relatively easily if required, without the need for software intervention. The store was also set up. Werum IT Solutions chose disk storage to store the WORM archives on two redundant systems.

Another copy is made at a remote destination without any media break. Storage on tape was not an option for Werum IT Solutions. In the past, the experience with tape storage had been less good, it was too expensive, sometimes unreliable and, above all, proved to be less long-term compatible. The new solution has now been expanded to include external PowerVault MD1400 storage shelves to provide the necessary capacity. The hardware, which is well known and proven in the company, also facilitates the operation and maintenance of the environment.

The installation process was extremely quick and easy. Experts from GRAU DATA installed FileLock on the virtual server within a very short time and made a few configurations for WORM archives. The test run then took place.

“The quick installation and simple configuration were impressive. During the test run and beyond, the GRAU DATA technicians were extremely quick, flexible and helpful,” adds Thorsten Harnisch.

Werum IT Solutions already used the FileLock WORM archive software in productive operation at the beginning of 2018. Handling within the process chain also proved to be very easy. At Werum IT Solutions, the data to be archived does not accumulate continuously, but according to the needs and development status of the solutions. The data consists of videos, complete and large software packages or small, often only 10 MB hot patches. The development staff work with dedicated archive folders. As soon as data is to be archived, it is stored in special archive folders. The IT managers learn from Sharepoint that data has to be archived and initiate the process manually. Over the course of a year, the WORM archive has grown to around five terabytes.

Do you want to find out more about easy audit-proof archiving with FileLock? Read more about the software here or contact us directly for individual advice.