Is your data growth exploding? Here’s how to manage it.

Organisations are increasingly coming up against the issue of organic data growth. Over time, the amount of data increases exponentially, along with the costs for storage and protection. What do you need to be aware of and how can you manage it?

What is live data and what is not?

Some organisations struggle to see the forest from the trees. They accept that their data is growing exponentially and it is just a cost of doing business. However, being able to distinguish what is live and non-live data is the first step to managing data growth costs. A common trend that I’ve noticed with customers is that if the business is growing at 10% per year, approximately only 30% of the data they possess has been used in the last 3 years. This is the live data that is making your business grow and making you money. The rest of your non-live data needs to take a back seat. The next step is deciding what to do with the remaining 70% and the relevance of this less active data.

The elephant in the room is choosing the most cost effective way to store and protect the ever growing volume of data. Because of the ‘just in case’ mentality, organisations tend to store and backup multiple copies of redundant data, of which only a small portion is really necessary to keep. Once IT can clearly distinguish the live data from non-live, less active data can be moved from the primary (usually top tier) storage solutions to less expensive platforms.

What data do I need to keep?

Data management policies also need to be in place before looking at solutions to cope with growing data. This is important not just to optimise costs but also from a legal perspective where legislated industries are required to keep data for a number of years.

More often than not, organisations don’t have clearly defined user data policies and aren’t aware of which data needs to be kept for compliance. For example, you may know you need to keep data for 7 years, but which data? I’ve come across Star Wars movie trailers and wedding photos stored in customers’ environment which I know for certain are not necessary for the business. Media files and user home directories can take up a significant amount of storage space without you realising it. Organisations need to ensure that the data stored is truly necessary and valuable to the business. Implementing an internal policy to categorise files as beneficial or redundant is a good way to manage your data structure.

Archiving: the best solution to organic growth

The most cost efficient way to manage your data is through an archiving solution in conjunction with a solid data management policy.  Most of your data at present is probably sitting on expensive storage units and being backed up regularly.

Archiving solutions can quickly improve the efficiency of data management with minimal effort. These solutions typically transfer inactive files to cheaper storage platforms, reducing the cost of maintaining those files as well as removing the need to regularly back those files up, resulting in decreased top tier storage requirements as well as more efficient data protection.  Doing so reduces the resources and costs needed to store and manage your data. Hitachi Data Protection Suite, for example, costs hundreds of dollars less per terabyte than a self-managed approach, removing the need for its customers to dedicate significant chunks of on premise network and storage infrastructure to backups.

What you need from your provider

Most organisations struggle to find or maintain the right skills in-house to manage their data. Working with an experienced provider is a cost effective way to manage your archiving solution.

The provider should be able to offer:

  • An end-to-end service that takes control of managing and purchasing software
  • Trained experts to back up and restore data 24/7
  • Access to multiple data centres. This allows colocation of data so you can pinpoint where specific data is needed the most

Providing these services will ensure that your data can be managed by the right people in the right places.

In a world where budgets are tightening, and data growth has no end in sight, managing data efficiently becomes king. Organic data growth should not be seen as a problem anymore. NTT ICT offers a team of storage, backup and archiving consultants and engineers that are able to offer practical advice on how you can build solid data management policies for your organisation. Drop us a note at contact@nttict.com and we’ll be happy discuss your requirements with you.

 NTTICT HDS GoldPartner

William Rusin
Author Name: William Rusin

William Rusin has been NTT ICT’s Managed Backups Team Manager since 2015. Will has over a decade’s technical experience in the IT industry, specialising in enterprise level data management including backup and restore, archiving, disaster recovery and business continuity.

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Added 24 February 2017

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