Delete dud data before upping storage: analysts

Have a clear-out before increasing capacity, consultancy firm advises

The average installed storage capacity at Fortune 1,000 companies has grown from 198 to 680 terabytes in less than two years, according to a report from research firm TheInfoPro (TIP).

This is a growth rate of more than 340% and capacity continues to double every ten months.

If this isn’t a management concern then it should be, says David Thompson, managing director of archiving company ASX-One Australia.

While consolidation and virtualisation strategies are being used by many organisations to alleviate the storage explosion, Thompson believes the focus should be on bad data.

He says TIP research shows storage takes up more than 15% of the total datacentre budget at nearly half of all Fortune 1,000 companies.

“The problem is that consolidation solutions are hardware-focused, relying on better density and smaller footprints to achieve savings,” Thompson says.

“They’re band-aids. They deal with the symptom, more than the problem.

“The problem is not too little hardware, it’s too much bad data.”

Thompson says a closer analysis of what’s really happening in the growing mountain of bits and bytes will uncover lots of duplicate copies, outdated records and unnecessary files.

“For some companies, the redundant data amounts to more than half of what’s stored,” he says.

In a recent case, Thompson says a company bought 78TB of space but ran out in just six months.

A detailed look at the stored data led to a clean-up operation.

“The company found that not only did it not need a second storage rack but it was only using half of the first one,” he says. “At another company, a redundancy-minded database administrator had 38 copies of an Oracle database; now that’s caution.”Such examples, Thompson says, demonstrate a lack of decision-making when implementing policies on storage.

Doing it right, he says, not only saves money but ensures compliance and mitigates against legal liabilities.

Graham Penn, Asia-Pacific vice president of storage at research firm IDC, says storage use has increased exponentially recently and many organisations go for a quick fix.

Penn says the attitude is: “We are running out of storage [so] let’s go get some more hardware.

“Is it possible that CIOs are under a misconception that digital archive and retrieval systems cannot handle the amount and types of data produced by organisations?”

If so, it’s a serious misconception, he says.

“In fact, many companies and government departments have built archives capable of capturing all digital content, including emails, and have saved significant costs as a result through more efficient data management.

“IT decision-makers should investigate these space-saving alternatives, which can deliver other benefits such as compliance management and support with litigation requirements.”

TheInfoPro was created by alumni of Gartner, EMC Giga and Bell Labs.

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