Managing data storage is more than making sure you have big-enough buckets for the bits. Several factors, including federal regulations and the continuing need to reduce costs, are forcing IT managers in a wide variety of industries to rethink their data storage and retention policies.
Data life-cycle management, or DLM, is the newest technology being offered as a solution to increasingly complex storage problems.
Simply put, DLM products help IT departments manage data throughout the course of the datas life span. DLM will be an important IT goal moving into the future because it will let IT departments better use valuable storage resources while keeping data available, accessible and protected. An effective DLM solution also helps IT identify data usage patterns and automates the processes for moving, protecting and archiving data.
Customers understand that there are tremendous benefits to implementing DLM solutions, said Chris Wood, director of marketing and technical sales at Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun Network Storage unit. "They see a significant reduction of both the cost of storage acquisition and the subsequent cost to administer the storage by not keeping around superfluous, obsolete or low-priority data," said Wood, in Newark, Calif. "They understand that the less core data they have to manage is the less they have to administrate, which results in a direct decrease in total cost of ownership."
One of the biggest drivers for implementing a DLM solution is compliance with regulatory mandates. "There are, by some estimates, over 20,000 regulations worldwide that directly or indirectly impact the management of information," said Howard Elias, EMC Corp.s executive vice president of corporate marketing and new ventures, in Hopkinton, Mass. "Just figuring out what regulations exist and how they apply to a given customers situation is often a substantial undertaking in and of itself, especially in regulated industries such as financial services and health care."
The DLM products on the market today include older, repackaged technologies, such as HSM (hierarchical storage management) systems, and newer technologies, including file-system-level WORM devices and ATA-based nearline storage devices.