Storage Options for Document Management
Document management and imaging systems store large volumes of data, which must be
maintained for long periods of time. Choosing storage is not simply a matter of reading
the “System Requirements” on the side of the box. Capacity and other requirements must
be considered specifically in terms of your application. Then, a combination of primary
and backup storage components, properly supported by application or utility software,
may be selected, which will meet your needs for many, many years.
Consider your requirements in terms of each of the following categories: capacity,
performance, reliability, longevity, and compliance.
A typical document management system will require a storage capacity that is orders of
magnitude greater than that of a database, accounting system, or other business
application in the same organization.
The storage capacity requirement should be estimated before implementing the system.
A skilled vendor or integrator can help, although the process is fairly straight forward.
Start by estimating the number of pages of scanned images and the number of electronic
documents of various types that are received or generated on an ongoing basis. It is easy
to forget some documents, so check file cabinets and file servers to help remember
everything that will be stored. Then double your estimate—applications tend to grow.
Ok, you’ve estimated the number of pages, but how many Megabytes or Gigabytes will
this translate too? Typical images of letter or legal sized paper are about 50 Kbytes in
size, but this can vary. Forms with lines or shading can easily be two or three times this
size. The sizes of your typical electronic documents (word processor files, spreadsheets,
etc.) can be easily checked. Total the amount of data—scanned documents and electronic
ones—which must be stored each month. Remember, there are approximately 1,000
kilobytes in a Megabyte and approximately 1,000 Megabytes in a