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Information Life Cycle Management

Data is the life blood of any organization, and Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is the recognized best practice for managing data across the enterprise. Too much data slows application performance and taxes IT resources. Lack of data leads to poor decision making and missed business results. It is the job of ILM to manage data growth as well as provide a framework for data governance and compliance.

Experts agree that as much as 80% of production data in enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, and other custom mission critical applications, may not be in active use. Moreover, this amount of data slows application performance by as much as 50%. Much of this data needs to be retained for compliance and business reasons such as decision support and trend analysis. Organizations managing rapid data growth face few options beyond spending scarce capital on larger servers and more storage.

Every day more and more data is processed and stored in the databases of enterprise applications. As databases grow, system performance is impacted. Choked by excessive processing volumes, application availability degrades, screen response times slow, and batch processes fail to complete within scheduled time windows. Additional infrastructure with more power may be applied, but such a brute force approach addresses only the effect (too much data) versus the cause (no active archive).

ILM solutions deliver business value to enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM by:

  • Managing the cost and performance impact of data growth
  • Aligning system performance and service levels to business goals
  • Establishing retention and compliance policies for enterprise data
  • Minimizing outage windows caused by data conversions during application upgrade cycles
  • Enabling the proper retirement and decommissioning of obsolete enterprise applications and data

Effective ILM programs feature database archiving and application retirement solutions to manage data growth. But archiving is not just a matter of chopping off all data before a specific date, copying it to tape, and deleting it from the production database. Data divorced from its metadata context often becomes meaningless, particularly with complex data models such as CRM and ERP. And even though data may not be in daily use, it still needs to be accessible.

ILM also provides a management framework to deploy storage in tiers, including non-powered tiers such as tape. Tiered storage solutions delegate the management of less frequently accessed data to lower cost storage platforms. With a goal to set a balance between cost and performance, tier 2 and tier 3 WORM storage devices offer mass storage at lower cost. But such storage cost reduction strategies come at the price of reduced performance and availability. For mission critical users who demand fast query performance and high availability, tiered storage solutions may not meet business objectives.