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Using content filtering to flatten server storage growth

How one company uses content filtering to its best storage advantage.

Using content filtering to flatten server storage growth
By Linda Gail Christie

Although controversial, content filtering does help prevent the growth of non-business-related file storage. One company has discovered a strategy that strikes a balance between personal freedom and file-blocking policy. This strategy preserves morale as well as related storage resources.

"We have a 24-hour operation," said Andy Ensign, technical analyst for Tyco Healthcare's Mallinckrodt, a manufacturer of specialty medical products located in St. Louis, Missouri. "So it's impossible for supervisors to monitor PC usage around the clock. In addition, we don't want to adversely impact morale by dictating that employees can never play games or exchange jokes and cartoons they download from the Internet. At the same time, we don't want any surprises with our servers in the morning!"

To control the growth of server storage, Mallinckrodt uses StorageCentral's FileScreen to block certain types of documents from being stored on network servers: .avi, .mp3, .rm .wav, .exe (Office executables), as well as game files. "Our employees can install and run any of these files locally on their workstations," Ensign said. "However, if they try to store them on the network servers, they receive an alert saying why they can't save the file."

Ensign said that FileScreen also has the option to simply monitor server storage activity so, should a problem occur, it can be addressed on an individual basis. "We can also grant storage privileges to individuals and groups that need to store these file types," Ensign added.

Because the company does not centrally back up workstations, this content filtering approach has controlled storage growth. "Since we purged our servers of 5-6 G Bytes of non-business-related files, our backups take less time and require fewer tapes," said Ensign. "In addition, we have a more realistic view of business-related storage utilization and growth, which is essential for planning."

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About the author: Storage management tips are written by Linda Gail Christie, a contributing editor based in Tulsa, Okla.

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