Despite efforts from vendors such as EMC Corp. to drive information lifecycle management (ILM) to the next level some organizations are still wrestling with the realities of the technology according to execs at the Storage World Conference this week.
The idea behind ILM of course is that users can quickly shift their data between different storage media based on its importance. But in order to move all this data around to various levels of storage it must first be classified no easy undertaking in many organizations.
One panelist at this week's show Mike Johnsen manager of IT data management services at Intel Corp. says data classification is a major hurdle to ILM. "We don't have an ILM strategy right now" he explained during a panel discussion yesterday. "We really need to get buyin from our internal customers. They need to get in there and classify their data."
Johnsen who manages storage for all of Intel's IT operations says his company already has a multitier storage architecture in place. It is part of an overall storage infrastructure that represents about Pbytes of data spread across sites in nine countries. Data is growing at a rate of percent annually he says. And still users aren't easily persuaded to classify their data.
"The feedback that I get from end users is that it's easier to throw money at disk than to assign headcount to really fix the problem" Johnsen asserted.
Johnsen's team takes several approaches to encouraging users to classify their data. "We have four tiers of storage and we do consult with our customers to try and land them on the appropriate tier." Also he's been working another angle. "We have been working with the Intel legal team on data retention policies. By bringing in the legal aspect of it I think we are going to end up forcing the customers to get in there and really classify their data."
Another panelist in a much smaller environment had a different experience. Rodger Smith enterprise architect of Chanhassen Minn. direct marketing firm IWCO explained that his ILM deployment was relatively straightforward within his firm's Tbyte storage setup.
"Fortunately it ended up being easy" he explained during the panel. "We bought into a SAN technology that was anticipating ILM." Although he did not name his SAN vendor Smith said that he can automatically shift his data across his five storage tiers which include RAID and tape on the bottom tier and RAID Fibre Channel and Serial ATA (SATA) technology at the top.