IT managers don’t have to be told that information growth is a serious issue. With IT budgets and staffing under pressure, they’re already scrambling to do more with less. What IT managers do need to hear, however, is that this urgent problem is about to get much worse.
In its most recent “Digital Universe” study,¹ researcher IDC estimates that, despite the global recession, the amount of digital information this year will reach 1.2 million petabytes. (A petabyte is a million gigabytes.) By 2020, IDC expects the amount of digital information will be 44 times as big as it was in 2009.
No wonder IDC advises IT leaders to start thinking about such information growth as a “perpetual tsunami.”
Clearly, this explosive growth will have a profound impact on IT’s ability to meet the needs of its business units. That’s why Symantec believes IT now needs to be organized around information, rather than around servers, storage, and applications.
Continue reading to learn how an information-centric approach to IT can help any organization effectively and efficiently manage information growth.
Swelling amounts of information require a better approach to managing it all. Failure to strive for such an approach means storage costs will continue to spiral, information will become harder to find, and the risks of legal action and privacy breaches will escalate. No one wants to be in such a position.
Then there are the challenges posed by virtualization. Many organizations are investing in virtualization as a way to drive down costs through server consolidation. But virtualization projects can increase the costs and complexity of storage management, severely impacting the ROI of server consolidation.
Symantec’s approach to managing these information challenges consists of four foundations:
- Protect completely by backing up, archiving for the long term, and stopping data loss
- Deduplicate everywhere, and closer to information sources
- Delete confidently to reduce storage and the risk of keeping everything forever
- Discover efficiently to provide a compliance- and litigation-ready information infrastructure
Protecting completely means using active archiving for long-term retention of information and keeping backups for short-term disaster recovery. Active archiving is a way of centrally managing the storage, retention, and preservation of information while ensuring transparent and seamless access to any item.
In the simplest terms, information in an active archive is under control. It’s deduplicated so it costs less to store, it can be deleted when it’s no longer needed, and it can be held for legal purposes.
Data loss prevention technology adds to this protection by identifying and tracking your most critical information so you know where it is, how it’s being used, and can prevent its inappropriate use.
Although deduplication technology has existed for some time now, many organizations have yet to fully realize the operational and storage efficiencies to be gained through it. That needs to change, especially given Gartner’s estimate that approximately 70% percent of corporate data is duplicate and hasn’t been accessed in more than 90 days.¹
Deduplication should be everywhere--within backups as well as in the archive. In virtualized environments, deduplicating at the source dramatically improves the performance of the virtual systems, slashes network traffic, and reduces the cost of data protection. Deduplication also allows backup data to be replicated more efficiently to other sites for disaster recovery.
Active archiving deduplicates files regardless of where the original file is archived from. If one instance of the same file is already in the archive, it won’t be stored twice, yet users will continue to be able to access their files via shortcuts. Symantec’s strategy is to reduce data everywhere by offering deduplication at the information source or at the target.
Too many of today’s enterprises are saving information indefinitely instead of implementing policies that allow them to confidently delete unimportant data and records. According to Symantec's recently released 2010 Information Management Health Check Survey
, respondents stated that three-quarters of their backups
are configured for infinite retention or are on legal hold.
Without a formal retention plan in place, enterprises will continue to pay the price in the form of rampant storage growth, unsustainable backup windows, increased litigation risk, and inefficient and costly discovery processes.
The bottom line: If information is properly managed it can be confidently deleted. Automated deletion according to a corporate information management policy is legally defensible.
Once information has been centralized, organizations can then search for specific information more quickly – and with more granularity than they would in a backup environment. This will reduce the time and cost it takes to evaluate litigation risk, resolve internal investigations, and respond to compliance events.
Consider too how archiving helps with early case assessments. Organizations that are able to assess each case early in its lifecycle are better equipped to make informed decisions about case strategy and can prepare more informed litigation budgets. Because archived information has already been collected and indexed, an organization can conduct an early case assessment without the expense and disruption of manual data collection and third-party processing.
For additional e-discovery costs savings, inside counsel can review and further reduce the amount of information that is sent for outside legal counsel review and analysis. With lawyers charging by the message or by the hour, it’s not surprising that the cost to review information can be as much as 1,500 times the cost to just store information. Discovery shouldn’t be a reactive fire drill – the right infrastructure and processes enable proactive discovery.
IT and backup administrators should consider not only advanced data protection methods for faster backup and recovery, but archiving as well. Combining backup and recovery technologies with archiving enhances traditional backup and recovery by reducing the actual data stores of applications such as Exchange, Domino, SharePoint, or file servers that would need to be backed up. Smaller data stores shrink backup and recovery times and can help save money on storage and storage management.
More importantly, this archived data can be leveraged for greater value through search and retrieval tools and simplifying electronic discovery. End users benefit from virtually unlimited mailboxes and the ability to search for and initiate their own restores quickly, and IT groups spend less time on administrative restore requests.
Symantec NetBackup simplifies the protection of an information-centric enterprise by automating advanced technologies and standardizing operations across applications, platforms, and virtual environments. That means being able to protect completely, store efficiently, recover anywhere, and manage centrally. The Symantec NetBackup 5000 Appliance pairs a versatile deduplication solution with leading backup technology in an appliance form factor. Integrated with NetBackup, the appliance enables storage-optimized data protection for the data center, remote office, and virtual environments.
Symantec Enterprise Vault, the industry leader in email and content archiving, enables companies to store, manage, and discover unstructured information across the enterprise. With unstructured information consuming a large percentage of corporate storage, Enterprise Vault archives information from messaging, file servers, and collaborative systems using storage optimization, classification, and retention technologies.
IT administrators who have had to respond to a corporate lawsuit or internal investigation know how difficult it is to collect and deliver files, messages, or other content for legal review. Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator and Discovery Collector extend the basic search functionality of Enterprise Vault archiving to help lower the cost of data collection and enable review and analysis of archived and un-archived items for electronic discovery.
With the rollout in August of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1, industry observers expect a significant number of Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 customers will finally take the plunge and upgrade to the new release. Enterprise Vault integrates with Exchange 2010 to help organizations control the explosive growth of data found in email. Admin-defined policies automatically archive individual mailbox email and attachments out of Exchange and into online Enterprise vault stores based on age, size, and date. Enterprise Vault eliminates mailbox quotas and the need for PST files while preserving the familiar user experience.
The ongoing explosion of information is having a profound impact on IT’s ability to meet the needs of its business units. The inability to secure and manage information consistently can lead to duplication, inefficiency, and the failure to use information for competitive advantage
Symantec’s approach to information management and integrated technologies enable IT organizations to protect current data, archive and discover long-term information, manage data types and content sources more efficiently, and recover systems and information quickly and easily.
¹ “A Digital Universe Decade – Are You Ready?” IDC, April 26, 2010
² Sheila Childs, Gartner Presentation: “New Archiving Technologies That Deliver Cost Savings and More,” December 2009