ILM: A straightforward approach to strategic storage
Managing the storage of growing data and the associated
costs has been a challenging issue for CIOs. One workaround is to classify data
and then determine where it is to be stored: Business critical data could be
stored on expensive, high-end storage devices, but as this data gets old and
less relevant, it could be moved to inexpensive storage media. And that's just
what Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) offers. Leading storage solutions
vendors like StorageTek, Hitachi Data Systems, EMC, Veritas, IBM and HP have
ILM initiatives in place.
ILM is an approach to assessing and managing information.
Its based on how data is used and how readily available it must be to
those who use it. In other words, it's the business value of data that determines
the storage technologies you use and how much you spend on them.
are two aspects of accessing data and information. One is the frequency with
which you access the same information. Second is the amount of latency that
your business can tolerate," said Vijay Pradhan, Country Manager,
StorageTek (India), "ILM enables you to select the right storage technology
depending on how old or how relevant the data is, and what are the requirementsin
terms of how frequently I need to access this data and what is the latency I
can tolerate," said Pradhan.
ILM involves controlling and tracking data, from the
time it is captured in a business transaction, through its lifecycle, until
the time it is no longer needed. When information is captured during a business
transaction, it has the highest value for business. Since it will be frequently
accessed at this point of time, it should reside on (high-end) Online storage.
But as time goes by, the value of this information diminishes and hence an organization
might want to move it to Inline, Nearline or Archival media (depending on its
age, frequency of access, and the latency of access time).
Srinivasan, Managing Director, StorageTek South Asia said, "ILM is
a description of what's happening in the real world of storage. Storage is expanding
very rapidly, but not been treated differently at various stages of its lifecyle.
Left to itself, if the storage of data is unmanaged, the relevance of it changes.
So ILM is about how you manage the storage of data through its lifecycle."
While all this might sound good in practice, can the
process of classifying information and then moving it to the appropriate storage
medium, be entirely automated?
"This is not yet completely automated," said
Srinivasan. "If there was software that intelligently moved data to any
of these storage types (based on how old the data is), then you would have a
Pradhan said StorageTek is positioning its ILM strategy
at the Telecom and banking verticals, and certain government departments (as
e-governance increases). StorageTek has incorporated ILM into its ASM (Application
Storage Management) software.