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Chicken or Egg: Is ILM Shaping Technology or Vice Versa?

by Randall Senske, KOM Networks

Many things we buy, such as food and beverages, come in containers. The same holds for IT. When we buy storage or a computer, we are really only buying a container for our digital data. As with consumer items, the packaging and delivery may cost more than the contents. So should we select the container before thinking about the contents? Chicken or egg? Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) should force us to focus on content first.

Today we have many options for managing and storing data. Understanding how we assess its value is the key to shaping the container. So why do we keep data?

There are only three basic reasons: time, money, and posterity (that's posterity, not posterior!).

Time is precious, so saving it is a basis for many decisions. When we find something useful, we keep it to save us the time of finding it again. (That's not as easy as it sounds!)

Money is a source of pleasure and power (besides being the root of all evil!), so it is the key to determining data's value to an organization. We keep things that help us make money, or at least protect us from losing it.

As for posterity, we keep information because we expect it to have future value.

With the advent of powerful software such as decision support systems, ERP and CRM systems, and business intelligence (BI), everyone agrees that information is an asset; and lack of it is a liability. In fact, lack of it may send people to jail what with the current demand for regulatory compliance. So we should be able to assess the value of our data and choose the correct container for it (such as optical devices, tape, SATA disk, Fibre Channel disk, or solid-state disk).

Ease and flexibility of accessing the contents are also important in selecting the container. As the old saying goes, ãWhen the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.ä When you sell hammers, your solutions look like nails even if the customer is trying to open a can of beans. But technology is advancing quickly, and vendors can supply what you really need. Let your data and processing requirements be the basis for your ILM solution. Then pick your containers and tools, and finally seek the technology you want.

Technology will only shape your ILM solution if you let it. Assume that your ideal solution is available. If you don't find it, demand it (not too loud, please!), because customer needs should shape technology.

Randall Senske is a Business Development Manager at KOM Networks.

Source: ILM Newsletter

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