Many organisations have Notes and Domino databases with important yet not actively used content. There are a lot of reasons they are keeping the databases;
- Compliance reasons. – Some or all content is restricted from deletion and needs to be available due to compliance reasons. This is common in highly regulated business such as Finance and Insurance, but also in manufacturing industries like Chem tech or Pharmaceuticals. In some cases the content needs to be kept over a life time.
- Reference reasons. – Some or all content needs to be available over time to users for finding business important information.
- Other reasons. – No one really knows if the information is important or not and sometimes there is no one to ask.
In any case, finding a way to keep the information is important and in the topmost cases it is crucial to do it in a future safe way.
Where and how should it be stored?
There is some options and considerations. It also depends on if you want to keep Domino running and feeding it with cost of ownership. Maybe you are using Domino actively for other reasons and the users are using it on a daily basis. If not, don’t use it for long term store.
- Domino needs a client (Web or Notes) to read the information and a server to run. Even if you have it working today, you can not make sure that it runs on future operating systems, client and server. Think 50 years ahead!
- Domino have a secure and complicated structure to reach the information. You need to have a physical id file and a password to that file. You also need to have the Domino server running with a Domino Directory and make sure that above id-file is not out of date. If so, you need to be able to re-certify that id-file. Again – Think 50 years ahead!
- Domino stores the data in a database, highly secure. The backside is that it can be inconsistent and corrupt. Then, not one document is gone, but all documents in that database. Think 50 years ahead!
Can’t I just do a backup of the database?
For the above reasons – NO! Because you still need to have the Notes client, Domino server and much more to get to the information.
So what are my options then?
Convert the content to a file structure instead of a database. You may store that file structure in a database in later stages, but make sure it is in a common file format. Also make sure that any attachment is kept together with the information.
- Text files have been around since the beginning of computers, are still in use and most likely readable in a foreseeable future. Difficult to keep attachment close.
- XML file is a tagged text file with the same features as above. It can be parsed to a more readable format but the parsing is independent from the XML file. Can also keep attachments in the same file.
- PDF files can be used but only if it is readable without a client. You don’t want to be dependent to any software versioning or compliance. Attachments needs to be referenced.
Store the converted content in a secure storage. Here you have the same options as you have with other files, and also access rights that is understandable as of other file storage.
I would recommend using one of these three object stores:
- Azure Storage Account Blob storage.
- Amazon Web Services S3.
- Google Cloud Storage.
All three have features like Geo-redundancy, Object lifecycle management, Hot and cold storage and much more.