It might seem like an odd question, but there is an equivalent in the world of IT.
Peter Sweeney- Waterford Technologies
You probably wouldn’t do this as the cost hugely outweighs the value of the items concerned. Most people, if they were honest, would have to say that their wardrobes are full of stuff that they are never going to wear again but just can’t get around to sending the clothes to recycling or the charity shop. There is always an element of “what if I need it one day”, nagging away at the back of their minds.
Clothes have a lifecycle. At one point they are new and get used all the time, but as time passes they are used less and eventually take up residence in back of the wardrobe in the “just in case” section. There are some items that have real value every day. That old Barbour jacket just gets better the more you wear it and is a vital for every rainy day. That classic designer ladies jacket that made you wince at the cost when it was bought is still a staple and has value and regular use.
How does this relate to your IT? The reality is that data on your network has the same lifecycle. It has business value and that value will decrease as it ages. Some data is critical and is used every day. However, over 80% of data on a company’s networks falls into the less valuable or never used category after a very short time.
So, this is where the bank vault question comes in. Modern server infrastructure is designed to access programs and data quickly and keeps the most used data on expensive tier one storage. It’s expensive to implement and manage and the equivalent of a bank security box. It’s often replicated and covered by multiple redundant systems. Even if the cost of hardware is dropping, the cost of managing it isn’t. Why fill your expensive storage with the equivalent of old clothes?
So, what can you do? Modern companies need to manage the process of ageing the data on their networks and automating the process of archiving it out of the expensive storage and onto cheaper but still accessible storage areas. It needs to be still accessible if still relevant but not using resources it doesn’t need. If it is not relevant, it can be deleted according to well defined policies.
In order to archive data effectively, you need to be able to do the following:
- Report. View files by age, owner, size and type to see who put what data where.
- Delete. The ability to clean and remove unwanted files according to company policies.
- Archive. Protect files and move them out to an archive server.
- Stub Files. Remove files transparently without impacting on the users. The equivalent of giving a user a cloakroom ticket in our analogy. The coat has been moved to a storage area but can be reclaimed instantly if required.
Effectively, and automatically managing data is critical to all companies and the benefits can result in huge cost reductions for the IT department.