What are some of the hidden costs of managing unstructured data?

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Well, the obvious costs are storage capacity and backup capacity; you keep growing, you keep adding storage. But, searches of existing files can cost quite a bit too. For example, if we look at Internet searches that we do every day, we're basically searching through unstructured data using simple search criteria, such as text strings. I mention this because the mechanisms used to search unstructured data are very similar.

A 2003 study claimed that office workers spent five and a half hours per week searching the Internet for information. That's about 14% of your workweek spent looking for data. You can see how the cost really adds up. Imagine a legal dispute where you need to produce information for discovery. You can spend significant time looking for specific email messages or other data, so search costs can become enormous.

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This was first published in March 2007

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