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Howard Marks
Howard Marks
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Analysis: Information Lifecycle Management

We examine the business value of adopting ILM tools and practices to manage your data, and why vendors continue to take a scattershot approach to data retention. Can IT pull


If time is money, most data admins are overdrawn. Users want the sales conference PowerPoints they made four years ago, while legal says to dispose of business documents ASAP. New regulations crop up constantly, requiring fine-tuning of data-retention policies. To make life even more hectic, if an order hits your desk asking for all electronic business documents--e-mail and IM, spreadsheets, Word and Excel files--pertaining to a lawsuit, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that took effect late last year give you just 120 days to comply. Forget sending the lawyers to say, "Too expensive! No tools!" The onus is on you to prove to a judge you can't pull it together.

With so little time, will you be able to recall all relevant backup tapes from the warehouse, restore them to new servers, extract the data that might be germane and have your legal eagles review everything?

We didn't think so. This, of course, has vendors with any play in data management licking their chops in anticipation of the pain new e-discovery rules will cause IT. Last year, the records-management market stood at $280 million, according to Forrester. By next year it's projected to grow nearly 500 percent, to a whopping $1.3 billion.

Many of these dollars will likely go to ILM (information lifecycle management) applications. In a nutshell, ILM is IT's answer to the old adage, "a place for everything, and everything in its place." It mandates storing data in locations commensurate with its value while recognizing that the value of any given data item changes over time, and that different access methods may be appropriate for data items at different points in their lifecycles.

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Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage ... View Full Bio
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