Bad data source of costly storage management problems

Storage takes up more than 15% of the total data center budget at nearly half of all Fortune 1,000 companies

The average installed storage capacity at Fortune 1,000 corporations has grown from 198TB to 680TB in less than two years, according to a new report from research firm TheInfoPro Inc. (TIP). This is a growth rate of more than 340% as capacity continues to double every 10 months.

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

While consolidation and virtualization strategies rank highly in these companies, Thompson believes the focus should be on bad data.

He said TIP research shows storage takes up more than 15% of the total data center 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 said. "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 said 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analysis of what's really happening in the growing mountain of bits and bytes will uncover lots of duplicate copies, outdated records and nonbusiness related files.

"For some companies, the redundant data amounts to more than half of what's stored," he added.

In a recent case, Thompson said 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 said. "At another company, a redundancy-minded database administrator had 38 copies of an Oracle database; now that's caution."

Such examples, Thompson said, demonstrates a lack of decision-making implementing policies on storage.

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

Graham Penn,  Asia Pacific vice president of storage at research firm IDC, based in Framingham, Mass., said storage use has increased exponentially in Australia and many organizations go for a quick fix.

Penn said the attitude is "we are running out of storage, 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 organizations?" he asked.

"In fact many companies and government departments have built archives capable of capturing all digital content, including e-mails, 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."

TIP was created by alumni of Gartner, EMC Giga and Bell Labs and produces a range of market research reports.

This story, "Bad data source of costly storage management problems" was originally published by Computerworld Australia.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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