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Posted February 23 2018

To Archive or Not to Archive: An IBM Maximo Story

At one point, you may begin to ask if you should be archiving your Maximo data. Though the underlying reason may differ from one environment to another, it remains that eventually people come to this question.

Why should I archive my Maximo data?

Data feeds IT systems. However, data is cumulating in database tables due to all modifications resulting from changes requested by users on applications or servers comprised in IT systems. Sooner or later, you will need to « clean » your system from no longer relevant data. Indeed, if you do not archive, your database tables will keep growing, leading to these issues:

  • Slowdown in key applications;
  • Obsolete data appearing in result sets;
  • Irrelevant rows in tables;
  • Lack of flexibility in changing the system (due to old data business rules).

As such, loss of performance will result in added IT support costs. Moreover, user satisfaction will decrease corollary of operational impacts caused by delays. Your employees, looking for a needle in a haystack when searching their databases will answer user requests in a lengthy period. We recommend measuring applications wait time through each process initially and then compare periodically or after a large implementation.

Archiving Maximo Data

Considerations

A good start is to look at some of your tables’ size in your database. As an example, let’s focus on Ticket and Workorder tables in Maximo, which support views for applications such as Service Requests and Workorder Tracking. For each service request, tickets are created, explaining an incident, a problem and/or a change. As all those tickets are connected to the same service request, tables can grow quickly. The transaction table for example is unique and adds a row for every node that record passes through. As a matter of fact, archiving some of these tables will become necessary; keep in mind to use the latest of any dates kept on the related tickets that make up the request when achieving it. In some cases, each ticket must be treated as a single request.  

Furthermore, you need to ask yourself how long you should keep data in your production environment before moving it to your archive. If you ask your user community, responses can greatly vary from 30 days to seven years! It is complex to determine how you should proceed to retain your online data, as this can vary for multiple reasons. As such, an organization usually has some legal obligations regarding data retention that must be consulted before making any decision. With this as a stating point, you can choose how to structure your organization for the entire business need.   

Fearing any loss?

When discussing archiving, it is imperative to emphasize that even though some data will no longer be online, it will still be accessible through the archive solution. In most cases, archiving contracts state that data must be available for at least seven years.

There are different ways to interact with archived data. You can use one or more of these methods as they meet your business needs.

  • “Just in case” access

Data remains in the archived files and is stored on lower-tier storage or even off site.

  • Limited regular access

Recommended if you periodically need access to archive data for monthly, quarterly or annual reports. As data is not in a relational database, reports will not run as quickly as they would against a database, but your maintenance costs will be lower.

  • Power reporting

This option is excellent for users who do not need any requested data in the Maximo format.

  • Archive database

Your current data remains in your current database, but historical data is archived into files which are then restored to another database with the same schema. As you have less data for the larger user community in the production environment and more data for the smaller one interacting with the archived data set, the performance will be improved in both user groups.

Options

 There are a few options out there that can be considered and here are a few.

  • InfoSphere Optim – IBM offers this tool that can assist with your archiving needs.
  • MaxArc – A Maximo add-on developed by Envision.
  • 2nd Maximo Environment – Another possible option would be to setup a secondary environment to hold the data. The look and feel will be familiar with users but in the event that you upgrade your production environment, you might also need to do the same for the archive environment.
  • Static Reports – In many cases retention policies allow archived data to be retained in a reporting tool. This can be a simple decoupled solution using existing tools and local skills. This could be done in the Maximo included BIRT tool or any other reporting tool, but in order to delete the data from Maximo the report tool would need a separate database schema.

As you can see, archiving is essential for Maximo data users, but this does not mean everyone has to archive data in the same way. There exist many customized options for you.

To evaluate them, consult our team for an understandable and enlightening opinion.

 

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