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What's the Best Way to Set Up True ILM?

Question: What's the best way to set up true ILM? Do I have to buy a lot of new disk and software?

Answer: The answers to both questions depend on your organizations specific needs. The most important component of a successful ILM implementation is the definition and validation of business-driven requirements for the value of the organization’s data.

An environment-wide ILM implementation should never be driven by technology capabilities, but rather by understanding the business value of each data set over time and recognizing how moving this data to lower-cost storage provides (or doesn’t provide) cost benefits to the business. Once this understanding is defined and validated, it can provide the framework for the data allocation and mobility processes that need to be implemented. The next step is to match these process requirements to your existing tiered storage architecture.

The value of a fully deployed ILM scenario rests squarely on the ability to automate data mobility and make that mobility transparent to application developers, database administrators, and end users. If the data movement mechanism between tiers of storage based on the defined policies is too resource-intensive or disruptive to the application, the risks and resource costs will soon outweigh the cost benefits of ILM. The ILM cost benefit analysis should follow a simple path:

  • Define data value over time to set ILM policy.
  • Match data value to storage tiers.
  • Define potential cost savings for implementing ILM.
  • Define data mobility strategy.
  • Compare costs of additional hardware and software to potential savings.
  • Determine the ILM strategy that best fits your environment and budget and provides the most positive ROI.

— Tim Arland, Principal Consultant for Storage Solutions, Forsythe Solutions Group Inc.