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Get Users Involved, Says Yahoo Boss

BURLINGAME, Calif. -- StoragePlus -- If IT managers want to keep storage under control, they need to get non-ITers into the loop, according to David Webster, manager for IT architecture and strategy at Yahoo. (See Yahoo Honcho to Keynote StoragePlus.)

The exec, who is responsible for Yahoo's corporate storage, explained in his keynote address here today that risk analysis, data retention policies, and storage costs need to be thrashed out with business managers at the earliest opportunity. Specifically, IT managers need to work out issues such as the lifespan of data stored on tape.

"Without that rule in place, youre doomed to what I like to think of as the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with this warehouse that goes on forever," he explained. "They happen to be your tapes, but you may or may not know what is on them."

This scenario has gained notoriety. Last week, Chase Card Services, a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase, revealed that it had mistakenly thrown out computer tapes containing confidential customer data, which were buried in a landfill. (See Chase Trashes Tapes.) Even NASA and the Los Alamos National Lab have suffered similarly embarrassing storage snafus. (See NASA Goes to the Dark Side, Los Alamos Fallout Continues, A Tale of Lost Tapes, and The Year in Insecurity.)

A system that indicates exactly who is using which tape resources can also prove extremely useful in helping CIOs rein in costs. (See Chargeback Plods On and NTP Adds Billing .) "Being able to expose those costs is really important," explained Webster. "Once you start charging back in this space, the world becomes a whole lot easier."

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