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Don't Hoard Storage Space Unnecessarily

It’s tempting to accumulate a lot of storage space to cater for all your data. Storage costs are dropping and it can seem like a non-problem to keep buying extra capacity to account for your ever-growing data needs. But stop for a minute and consider the data you’re storing: do you really need to keep it all?

Many users are hoarders of data, resistant to deleting things in case they need it in the future or just outright forgetting about it. But while it’s all well and good for the users, it’s the enterprise that has to cough up the storage space. That adds up and could be costing your business far more than you think.

Veritas recently published a study called The Data Hoarding Project, wherein they detail a recent survey of theirs found that 62% of office professionals confess to being data hoarders. However, don’t start pointing the fingers, as 81% of IT professionals responsible for managing data confessed the same thing.

The problem isn’t so much about where this should be stored, because storage space itself is plentiful. Instead, the question was why this data even existed in the first place – the study found that 86% of the data that businesses are storing is redundant, obsolete or trivial.

Of course, there is data that will need to stick around, perhaps for legal and auditing purposes. But when the vast majority of it can be completely wiped, things need to be reconsidered.

The report notes that this wasted data ends up costing businesses billions of dollars. However much your business might have of it, it’s burning money in your pocket. Sure, data storage isn’t hugely expensive, but it will certainly add up over time.

And it’ll eat into your backup and recovery solutions too. Not only are you having to pay for the original space, but times that by the number of backups you have. Also, don’t forget it takes time to manage larger sets of data. Many businesses are struggling to care for the data they have at the moment, let alone if it grows.

There’s an idea that every bit of data, no matter how useless it might appear on the surface, could potentially be paired up elsewhere to gather some useful information, whether it be about internal processes or your customers. Big data is forcing us all to keep collecting.

Third-party applications are attempting to try and solve this problem. For example, FireFly from Caringo allows storage managers to create policies that stem from metadata, allowing each piece of data to be assessed individually. Elsewhere, Actifio proposes the concept of creating a few duplicates of your data at any one time, with the rest only following when truly needed.

Whatever the solution, it’s clear that users need help. Veritas’ survey found that 47% of users are afraid of deleting something they might need later, while 43% don’t know what to keep or delete. Professionals can help advise with those decisions, but it’s the programs that can then action these decisions and clear up the storage clutter once and for all.


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