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Take Complete Control of Your Unstructured Data in Three Steps

March 9, 2011

Summary

This Tech Brief details how Data Insight for Storage promotes better storage usage and accountability.
If your company is like most, you’ve been grappling with the sharp growth of unstructured data—files such as documents, spreadsheets, and emails—for some time now. Just how big of a challenge is it? According to IDC, the amount of storage capacity shipped in support of file-based storage is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 60.1% through 2013.¹
Given this situation, it’s not surprising that management has tasked IT with reducing the costs associated with storing all this data. But it’s proving to be a very formidable challenge. Data typically is scattered on filers without divisional or owner organization, so pulling detailed billing or reporting for divisions is difficult. What’s more, storage teams have struggled to identify old or irrelevant data, allocate storage to the appropriate business unit or department, and understand data usage and consumption trends.
Recently, Symantec introduced Data Insight for Storage as a way for organizations to better understand and manage their unstructured data. Data Insight for Storage is designed specifically to control ownership and usage of unstructured data so that organizations can reduce their storage costs.
Continue reading this TechBrief to learn how Data Insight for Storage promotes better storage usage and accountability.

Gain visibility into the ownership and usage of data

Organizations have struggled to manage unstructured data for many reasons, but a major one has been the lack of automated visibility into data ownership and consumption. Data Insight for Storage overcomes that shortcoming and enables organizations to automatically:
  • Identify inactive and “orphaned” data. Through a data owner identification process, Data Insight for Storage locates and organizes orphaned and dormant data. Administrators can identify inactive directories as well as track data associated with users who are no longer at the company. IT organizations can target their reclamation, archiving, and lifecycle management efforts based on this insight.
  • Improve accountability for storage consumption and chargeback. Symantec believes the key to ensuring efficient utilization is to hold users accountable for their consumption of storage. Data Insight for Storage enables rule-based inference of data owners. Administrators can see who created data, who utilizes it, and who is responsible for it. Individual users can then be mapped to a department or line of business for consumption reports or chargeback. By aligning storage with the business and increasing transparency and accountability, IT organizations can actually start providing storage-as-a-service.
  • Understand consumption patterns. Without end-to-end visibility and correlation capabilities along the storage supply chain, organizations lack the ability to identify storage that has been allocated but never assigned. Data Insight for Storage visualizes consumption patterns, such as data usage by location, data usage over time, and frequency/type of activity to help improve storage efficiency. Analysis reports can help with migration planning, capacity planning, and remediation efforts.

The importance of tiered storage

Data Insight for Storage also recognizes that all data is not created equal. Putting everything on Tier 1 storage, replicating it to a second site, and maintaining a third site for disaster recovery is an expensive, ineffective approach. Instead, it is critical that organizations optimize storage costs associated with unstructured data by storing it on the most efficient tier throughout its lifecycle.
Data Insight for Storage helps organizations classify their data, determine its value to the business, and map that value to the appropriate physical tier. This enables organizations to ensure that they have the right data, on the right tier, at the right price. Even a simple model of classifying data as having a “high,” “medium,” or “low” value to the business will better enable IT to align the storage infrastructure to the value of the data.

Conclusion

Given the sharp growth of unstructured data, organizations can ill afford to use storage inefficiently. Symantec Data Insight for Storage simplifies data management and reduces storage costs by providing insights into the ownership and usage of unstructured data. With Data Insight for Storage, organizations can identify old and irrelevant data, deliver storage as a service, and analyze storage consumption trends to make better purchasing decisions.
¹ “File-Based Storage Taxonomy: Capitalizing on the Diverse World of Files,” IDC, November 2009

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