Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series

Commentary

David Hill
David Hill Network Computing Blogger

The Critical Need For Data Disposal

With so much stored data having no business value, enterprises need to tackle the challenge of reducing the data mountain.

Did you know that 69% of all data stored by enterprises has no value? That is, it is data that serves no useful purpose--none, zilch--yet continues to cost IT a bundle in storage resources. This has important implications to IT and enterprises that we need to explore.

One of my many interests is data governance, risk management and compliance (GRC), a subject that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. So I was pleased to be invited to speak on data retention at the recent Excellence in Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance Conference (EGRC 2013) in Portland, Maine. This cozy conference provided a number of insights on GRC topics as well as the opportunity to meet attendees from both private and public organizations.

Among the issues I addressed in my presentation was data retention management, including both data disposal and data preservation. But I'd like to focus here on the need for data disposal: why it's important to take your data mountain and reduce it to a manageable and useful data molehill.

Smoking Gun

A recent vendor briefing included the information in Figure 1, and although I have long suspected the truth of it, I had no credible source to make a quantitative rather than a suggestive argument against it:

Stored Data

Figure 1: Data Retention Requirements

Source: 2012 Compliance, Governance, and Oversight Council Summit

The chart shows that 1% of data in an enterprise has to be preserved for litigation hold, and 5% has to be managed to cover compliance requirements. Another 25% is reasonably determined to have current business value. That means a whopping 69% of all data--more than two-thirds--has no value whatsoever!

One might quibble with the figure (what is the underlying research, etc.), but let's apply a "reasonableness" litmus test: For the most part, businesses and their IT organizations mainly focus on what is happening now (current transactions, emails and analyses) and not on the process by which data accumulates.

IT acts as the custodian of data (and usually bears the burden of the cost of storing and managing it), but is not the "owner" of that information. Although a business unit may be the official owner, individual employees act as "stewards" for particular data sets. But what if an employee leaves, with his or her email, Word documents, and the like left as no-longer-used data debris? Who knows and who manages it? The answer is: probably no one.

Reasons For Tackling Data Disposal

Now I will submit a challenge: How important is it to get rid of that useless data?

Assume that 20% of an IT budget is spent on storage and that 70% of your data is of no value to your business. That means 14% (plus or minus, depending on individual enterprise differences) of the average IT storage budget is simply wasted. Calling all CIOs: Does that attract your attention? Now, realistically, even if by some magic all the useless data could be safely disposed of, there wouldn't necessarily be instant savings. Although a lot of disk space would be saved, could an array be sold? Hard to say, and the money you'd get would likely be a lot less than you paid for it (the used car depreciation problem).

Freeing up disk space means future storage purchases could be deferred, but that does not translate to immediate savings. But seeking savings that can eventually be redirected to more productive purposes, such as currently underfunded yet desperately needed IT innovation, is a good reason to tackle the problem.

This issue is a "life goes on" type of problem. That means that while you may be able to live with it for the time being, the continued exponential influx of new data will exacerbate the situation over time, making it increasingly difficult to address.

Moving business to the cloud doesn't fix the issue, but it may force businesses to pay more attention. One of the objectives of cloud computing is to provide IT-as-a-service, where users can select the services they want from a self-service catalog. However, this nirvana comes at a price. Resources allocated to and consumed by users means that chargebacks (or at least showbacks) have to be used. And guess what? Does a business "owner" of data want to pay about $10 for every $3 of data that has some useful value?

Next page: The Challenge Of Data Disposal

 1 | 2  | Next Page »


Related Reading


More Insights



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.