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Understanding the Ever-Changing Value of Data
A cornerstone concept for ILM is understanding the value of data. In any business, the importance and relevance of data fluctuates rapidly. As a guideline, it is estimated that 90% of data stored on a disk is never or seldom accessed after 90 days. An ILM strategy recognizes that not all data is created equal, and as it moves through its lifecycle, it must be managed and stored on different levels and on increasingly cost-efficient technologies.
As we know, today’s data is stored on a variety of different media, from online disk to tape libraries, with media options varying greatly in terms of cost, reliability, and accessibility. Implementing an ILM strategy therefore involves identifying the right software, hardware, and process at each stage of information’s lifecycle. This requires shifting data between storage mediums in an effort to provide the ideal levels of access, protection, and recovery at the lowest possible total cost.
Information Lifecycle Management strategies help IT users manage large amounts of information, while at the same time lower costs and improve the efficiency of storage operations. According to Joe Fuentes of StorageTek:
“The Information Lifecycle Management approach offers customers a whole spectrum of storage solutions that allows them to understand the usage of their information and how to put the right information on the right storage devices at the right time at the right price.”
“Because information’s value changes over time,” Fuentes contines, “StorageTek created its Information Lifecycle Management approach to help customers more efficiently and cost effectively manage information from its creation to deletion. Implementing this strategy helps customers reduce risk and costs, and puts IT professionals firmly in control of information management.”
In the Right Place at the Right Time on the Right Media
StorageTek is not alone in its commitment to providing ILM solutions. The storage industry on the whole seems comfortable in using the ILM framework as a method to assist in identifying the hardware and software to use in information lifecycle management. It’s felt that ILM can better help administrators assure that information is indeed in the right place at the right time and on the right media. As far as storage vendors are concerned, it helps them better identify customer hardware requirements.
One final element to think about with ILM is not only information management but information path management. Organizations are unlikely to offload all rarely used data to cheaper storage mediums unless they can be assured that data can, if needed, still be reliably accessed. Removing infrequently used data from disk opens up a can of worms with regards to information path management. While a complete discussion of path management is not included in this article, it is important to keep this in mind when moving towards an ILM solution.
In summary, Information Lifecycle Management strategies provide a way to align the cost of storage with the value of information. ILM is designed to shape the way we think about storage and storage needs by providing managers and administrators with a framework by which they can design, manage, and organize a storage infrastructure. ILM provides a solution to maximize on the accessibility and value of data at the lowest total cost.