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Still struggling with explosive information growth?

The Guardian Data Management Supplement 9th October, 2008

Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), retention schedules, policy driven data strategies, de-duplication, single instancing, back-up, archive, business continuity – we are certainly not short of ‘buzz’ words that describe data management and the rapid growth of data over the last decade is obvious to us all, but how should we address this?

Can we put a value on our data? There are obvious reasons for keeping data. We may need to use it again, we may need to prove we have or had it, and from a value perspective someone else may have a use for it. The key questions here are: have we successfully secured our data and can we find it when we need it most? If we cannot be sure, then why keep it in the first place?
The explosive data growth may be due to duplication across the organisation in both structured and unstructured data or lack of focus in addressing this, either way it has taken organisations by surprise, impacting data protection tasks and leaving ILM strategies in shreds.

Additionally, the problem of managing business information is compounded by known and unknown legislation. The perception towards the lack of legislative guidance results in an approach of “buy more storage, keep data indefinitely”, ultimately leading to ‘stove pipe’ disparate solutions with huge associated costs. More importantly, we still haven’t met the needs of the business and have no agility to adapt quickly to change.

Understanding the flow of data across your environment from creation to deletion is critical in avoiding reactive solutions that individually address point in time specific backup, archive, content indexing or business continuity requirements. Whilst these approaches fix short-term challenges they facilitate no agility in terms of adaptive data management and retention for long-term growth, access, retrieval and e-discovery challenges.

So the question remains, how do we effectively manage our data whilst tackling ever changing business requirements for accessing and retaining information? In essence the answer is quite simple. Understand how information flows through your organisation and then ensure synergy is created between business driven information policies and an underpinning unified data management suite.
This holistic approach balances the control of data growth, management and retention culminating in extensive cost and risk reduction.

Lloyd Joseph, Director, technologygroup