15 Mar Save money while your data grows
Not all data is created equal. Information lifecycle management, a fresh concept in data storage technology, suggests data should be be categorized and placed them into tiers associated with different costs and performance capabilities. For example, wide ranges of data, from customer orders to pictures of your last fishing trip, are saved on the company server—along with everyone else’s data. Each piece of data doesn’t have the same value yet we treat it all the same.
ILM suggests companies should have tiers of storage with varying performance and cost metrics. Important data should be matched with high-performance, expensive storage and less-important or infrequently accessed data with lower-performance, inexpensive storage. It’s a simple concept: match the value of the data to the cost of the storage.
When all the employees of a company leave their clutter on the corporate system it costs real money. It also has a real impact on business when server back-up time increases and the time required to perform a tape restore of a failed system has doubled.
Categorizing data into tiers of importance may require assistance. Storage resource mangers (SRMs) are automated tools that scan server data and identify old files, music files, inventory and orders. Products such as EMC’s VisualSRM report what data is tucked away on your systems. Less-valuable data can then be moved to inexpensive storage such as network attached storage (NAS) with ATA drives. These allow CAD drawings, engineering documents and orders to stay on the fastest servers or fiber channel storage systems. Automatic data categorization can also be carried out by company policy. This could include automatically deleting temporary files and music files, or moving last month’s orders from the mirrored disks to an inexpensive NAS box.
The next step is to establish tiers of storage that are associated with different costs and performance characteristics. Tiered storage could be an EMC Clariion with some high-speed fiber channel disks and some slower, larger ATA disks. As the value of your data changes over time, let your SRM system move the less-valuable data onto ATA disks. You’ve now taken the first steps toward saving money as your data grows. Information lifecycle management is a simple concept that saves you money.
John Foesch is a storage strategist at Inacom Information Systems.