Creation; hot, warm and cold phases; then deletion. These are – roughly speaking – the phases in the data lifecycle. A storage strategy which takes these phases into account and selects the right storage levels and technologies for each phase in the cycle is usually described as an Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) strategy.
Designing an effective ILM solution is a challenging task in every way. After all, even data stored on the deepest storage levels needs to be readily available if needed – and it will also be subject to business-specific and legal compliance standards. However, there is a solution that can readily master these challenges, implementing all of these requirements quickly and easily. If you want to know how, read on:
Information Lifecycle Management: What data is coming from where? When? How?
IT departments usually distinguish between hot (or active) and cold (or inactive) data. The current state of the data depends on how often users and applications access it. While hot data certainly does belong on a generally more expensive but higher-performance primary storage system, businesses should really transfer all their other masses of data to secondary storage, which is usually cheaper. And when talking about the latter type, “masses” really is the word: up to 80 percent of unstructured data is inactive and yet still finds itself completely out of place, on primary storage systems. Of course, data is a key resource which is worth holding onto – but it's usually best to keep it somewhere else. However, the enormous rise in data volumes, driven by increasingly automated processes, is not making data management any easier. So should we just delete our data? That's usually forbidden. How about managing it the right way? Now we're talking.
In order to efficiently manage these masses of data and relieve the load on primary storage systems, businesses can set up rules by which to transfer and archive data. Here’s one example rule: Move all Office files which have not been accessed for at least half a year to the next storage tier – a lower-performance, higher-capacity storage system. Move everything on the second tier which no users have accessed for another six months to the third tier (an archive tier such as object storage, tape or optical media). As you can see, we can create rules based on properties such as age, access date, file size and file type, then use software to automatically manage all storage tiers. Businesses can decide for themselves which criteria to automatically apply. A study by IDC found that, on average, data is no longer considered “hot” after 30 days. After 60 days, it is considered “cold”. Companies can also decide for themselves which storage systems to use.
Data & storage management with the PoINT Storage Manager
The PoINT Storage Manager (PSM) makes implementing ILM easy for businesses, since nothing changes for users or their existing applications: While still transferring and archiving cold data transparently, users can continue to see and access data via the primary system just as before. Even though the content itself is located on the secondary system. This guarantees transparent read access while also ensuring that files once accessed are not unnecessarily transferred again to another storage tier.
All current storage systems can work together with PSM as part of a multi-tier storage structure. The multi-tier structure lets users who work with PoINT software use the most efficient storage systems for each tier. A particular benefit of PoINT products is the flexibility offered by a manufacturer-independent approach to storage systems and the ability for businesses to design their own hybrid storage infrastructure. No matter how the IT infrastructure is set up, PSM protects archived data using WORM functionality and retention management, preventing manipulation or undesirable deletion. As a result, it helps businesses to comply with legal and company-specific requirements.
PoINT assists businesses with transfer and archival processes across the entire lifecycle of each data. So PoINT software helps companies to make optimal use of their storage systems. Gundolf Gremler, Technical Lead at PoINT: “If companies want to introduce an ILM concept, they can easily and efficiently put it into practice with the PoINT Storage Manager and its handy rules.”