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Over the years big data has crept into the everyday life of systems administrators. Attempts to solve the big data problem in both block and file storage emerged as data management software. While data management software struggled to get a footing, deduplication and compression took off stunting data management software’s growth.

Deduplication and compression technologies have well known capabilities in both the storage and information disciplines.  However, they differ in a significant way.  These technologies do not ease the burden of information management.

Post information management, deduplication works by providing efficiencies for electronic discovery review and categorization. Compression and deduplication work together to provide efficiencies in data transfer from one ESI system to another.

Deduplication and compression in storage systems relieves pressure on storage budgets.  Data storage departments can manage an increase in data at the application level, by deduplicating and compressing at the storage level. Pressure is relieved from data storage departments in the form of reduced spending, but spending still increases year over year.  Managed storage budgets hinder momentum for information management policy and products.

Information management policy and products are alternate solutions for storage efficiency.  One solution is data management software that executes an information management policy.  Information management policies can then be supported from the business leaders to the block levels.

Dedupe and compression were created to solve a problem using brute force.  Further, the brute force approach helps storage vendors sell more storage under the guise of “storage efficiency.”  However, you’re still buying a lot more storage than you likely need, at prices that aren’t justified by the data you are storing.

Storage efficiency is crucial, and needed.  Unfortunately, it has done a disservice to the discipline of information management.  Essentially, it sidetracked storage product development related to information management and compelled the storage industry to kick the can of “information management” further down the road.

What is the upcoming intersection on the road where we kick the can of “information management?”  “Unsustainable“, that’s the word Dean Gonsowski at Symantec used when we interviewed him about the “2011 Information Retention and eDiscovery Survey.”

We should be approaching a merging of roads where data storage professionals and business information professionals are aligning to push the big red button.  Those who can’t push the button or don’t take the steps to do something with their data storage may be classified themselves.  What classification?  Hoarders, we may already have closet hoarders in IT.

 

Are there business and technology leaders out there who are willing to push the “button?”  Harking back to my interview with Dean, he commented on a discussion with a gentleman in IT at a “big financial services company.”  While chatting with the gentleman, Dean shared his thoughts on information management policy and the unwillingness of business and technology professionals to act on policy.  This gentleman said, “I’ll hit that button.”

We aren’t hitting the button, you aren’t hitting the button.  As a collection of people, we won’t today or tomorrow, but we want too.  However, we will start taking small steps to reduce our storage budgets and increase our ability to act on information management policy.

On Monday night I had dinner at Threadgills in Austin with Bruce Backa.  A) Threadgills is awesome and B) Bruce and I both had the brussel sprouts with bacon.  That said, Bruce was in town to meet with Dell regarding their Fluid Data programs.  Bruce is the CEO of NTP Software.  NTP Software has been silently managing and controlling your file data for at least a decade.

NTP Software (“NTP”) products will reduce your storage budgets and increase information management policy execution.  NTP has been identifying and managing data growth since they first introduced quota management.  Quota management software attempts to limit data creation, but NTP learned very quickly you cannot stop data creation.

NTP continues to invest in software development that meets the needs of storage teams and business leaders.  Storage teams are asked to deliver resiliency under strict service level agreements.  Business leaders need innovation and agility.  Being agile and consistent isn’t easy, racing cars has taught me that.

There is a dichotomy to storage and information, one must be consistent, the other agile.  It’s a heated mix on primary storage systems, but not unapproachable.  Companies like NTP have been working to bridge the gap between data creation, information management and electronic discovery identification, collection and preservation for years.

NTP delivered data management integration with Symantec Enterprise Vault in 2009, supporting direct placement of older data into an electronic discovery identification and preservation system.  In 2011, Dell and NTP have repeated that approach by offering integration with Dell DX Object Storage Platform.

Data management software and big data object storage repositories enable your information management policy and data tagging to manage the preservation, retention and ultimate destruction of data elements.  Moreover, alternate storage systems will reduce storage capital budgets while crossing the chasm of information management policy operations and associated budget.

Closing the gap on the dichotomy of storage and information by helping execute a proper information management plan will reduce capital and operational budgets.

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Joshua L. Konkle

About Joshua L. Konkle

Vice President DCIG, LLC Joshua Konkle is Vice President at DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Konkle has been a business advisor with them since September 2006.

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