Not everything lives forever, including records, reports and that oh so carefully crafted content.

Enterprises turn to data archiving vendors so they can retire legacy applications, but still remain compliant in the event of an audit. Gartner estimates this market is currently worth around $290 million — and set to grow about 10 percent per year as enterprises pare files to make room for increasing amounts of new data.

Thirteen vendors made it into this year’s Magic Quadrant for Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement (registration required).

To be included, vendors must be the developer of a data archiving and application retirement product, not just a value added reseller.

They also need to have at least 15 enterprise customers in at least two global geographies and bring in more than $3 million in new license or maintenance revenue annually, among other things.

Gartner said the top rated vendors "must be comprehensive and scalable, have an established market presence and a proven track record of financial performance." They also need "a well-developed plan for delivering their roadmap, with a clearly articulate plan as to how they will achieve their vision for expanded archive management."

What's It All About?

Structured data archiving facilitates storage, governance, cost control and data scalability. Gartner identified four principal trends dominating this space:

Application Retirement, driven by mergers and acquisitions, data center development and the migration to the cloud

Petabyte-Scale Archives, facilitated by the growing use of Apache Hadoop and bigger data warehouses

Information Governance, a core technology for efficient organizations

The Loss of Extended Maintenance for some SAP applications like SAP CRM, Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) 2007, which are forcing enterprises to retire these applications and manage the data

Gartner MQ for Data Archiving

5 Leaders

Gartner rated five of the 13 contenders as leaders.

Delphix provides virtualized images of data. It offers application archiving by creating virtualized images of the database. Much of its business is driven through application migration to the cloud. It offers clients the ability to roll back the archived virtual machine to any point in time. But Gartner claims it is not suitable for long term archiving, and also noted that it requires database and application licenses to be available once the virtualized image is mounted in order to access and report on the data.

HP's Structured Data Manager for database archiving and application retirement, supports a wide range of applications. It also enables database-to-database and database-to-file archiving and is integrated with HP (previously Autonomy) Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL). Gartner cited its good retention management capabilities and added that it is feature-rich and supports big data analytics. But structured data archiving knowledge and skill sets are relatively narrow within HP.

IBM Info Sphere Optim has a significant lead among other vendors in this market. It's also on the wish list for many medium-to-large organizational archiving and application retirement initiatives. Gartner calls Optim a proven archiving solution with strong business rule capacities and policy management. However, it can be difficult to use and pricing and licensing is an issue for many customers.

Informatica's Data Archive supports a wide array of applications and underlying databases that live on distributed systems or mainframe platforms. Gartner noted it's strong vision with a targeted and focused roadmap, and the fact that it addresses a large number of use cases including retirement, compliance, performance optimization and analytics. But it can also be hard to use and is more practical for organizations with a large data footprint or those with a large number of applications.

Solix Technologies offers an Enterprise Data Management Suite (EDMS) that supports many applications and databases as well as support for unstructured data. Gartner likes its improved search and reporting capabilities and the fact it supports Open Database Connectivity, Java Database Connectivity and Java and web servicers. But Solix is a small company, so personnel can be spread thin and its SAP archiving is a work in progress.