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Flash storage and cleaning house

A recent discussion with a client got me thinking about precipitating events that cause IT professionals to “put their house in order” regarding the information they store. In this case, there was a new all-flash storage system acquired for primary storage. The transition prompted the client to look at the information stored on the system to be replaced, discarding what was no longer useful and moving inactive data to another system.

This is similar to what many of us go through in our personal lives. Certain events cause us to examine what objects we have accumulated and make a conscious decision to discard some. Moving to a new home is the most obvious example. While packing all your belongings, junk, hoarded items, etc., you decide about what you really do not need and how to get rid of it. The first thoughts may be a garage sale or some friend that you know could really use that stuff. Other things go right into the dumpster. The second phase of reduction comes after you get your boxes to your new place. After a certain period of time, belongings that are still packed up can probably be safely discarded.

There is a parallel with our IT lives. Bringing in all-flash storage for primary adds a faster system that can provide greater economic value for the company, and it should be more carefully managed than the previous system. However, there are other “precipitating events” in managing information that should cause us to clean house, or, address our “data hoarding.”

For instance, but the purchase of a new primary storage system can also lead to a movement of data for load balancing. Deploying a new content repository can spark an initiative to store data based on value or activity, establish retention rules and accommodate growth. And organizational change can lead to new company dynamics – acquisitions or consolidations – and changes in services delivery model, such as a transition to IT as a Service.

These events happen with more regularity than most would think. To manage information strategically, you should add the task of organizing information to these events. Like when discarding junk from your house, it’s hard to do these tasks as regularly planned activities because they get infinitely postponed or discarded due to lack of time or resources.

So these events in IT do mirror our personal lives. We need to recognize this, plan for it, and take advantage of these events to make improvement. It may not be the most optimal way to clean out unneeded data, but it is a method that is naturally practiced.

(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).

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