The Importance of a Data Lifecycle Management Strategy
By Greg Schulz
Companies should work hard to develop the focus of their data management strategy, including what is currently being done and where opportunities exist to more effectively protect, preserve and serve their digital assets. This involves taking the time to fully create a lifecycle management strategy and to determine whether or not to treat all their information, data and storage media the same, or to leverage tiered protection.
Taking a Step Back
When it comes to protecting and preserving applications and associated technologies, companies must remember that if they cannot go back, there is no way for them to go forward. In other words, companies cannot go forward after something happens to their information, applications, data or storage if they cannot go back in time to find and access those records. Keep in mind that a fundamental role of IT and data infrastructures is to protect, preserve and serve information when or where needed.
It is important to have a data protection lifecycle strategy that aligns with broader information, data and storage, including media management. Organizations must figure out a way to manage and coordinate different lifecycles in their information and data management infrastructure. For example, information and associated data may have a lifecycle that spans many years or decades, yet the underlying storage systems and media may be on shorter lifecycles. As such, companies must determine if they are planning to make changes to those resources while they continue to manage the activity across the information and data infrastructure, from applications to data storage media.
The Past and The Future
Historically, many conversations around information, data and storage lifecycles were based around the fact that data was created, accessed and then went dormant — perhaps not to be accessed again after a short period. This old-school access lifecycle still exists today, particularly for some transactional data. However, there is a new pattern in which data gets created, accessed and used in a short time span. From a write or update perspective, this information goes dormant, perhaps forever. Today, data remains active from a read perspective, either on a sustained basis or during different intervals, as new copies, copies of copies, metadata and new data are produced.
By understanding that the base data that is being read is static and unchanging, organizations can have great insight into how this data can be protected differently in the future. For example, if an organization has a large amount of static data, it can examine why it is being protected on a frequent basis versus a less frequent cycle. Perhaps the most frequent copies are meant to speed up recovery. If so, it is time for them to step back and revisit the applications, information, data and storage lifecycles, along with their associated data protection lifecycle management strategy.
Tips and Recommendations
Companies that know and understand the similarities and differences across their information, data and storage media, along with their associated lifecycle management and tiered protection, can unlock value while removing complexity and costs to sustain growth.
Organizations should start by revisiting information,data and storage media management, along with their corresponding lifecycles. Then, they should focus on what can be accomplished today in comparison to how processes worked in the past. This will allow companies to distinguish between their needs and wants. Businesses can then begin to remove costs by finding and addressing data protection complexities at the source, as opposed to cutting service. Organizations must understand their applications, information, data and storage lifecycle management strategy and have a plan to protect, preserve and serve information in a cost-effective way.
Navigate here for a visual representation of your data's lifecycle: From Birth to Data Afterlife.