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Show Me The Money #2 – Lower Total Cost of Ownership (Backup, Archive and Disaster Recovery)

In a prior blog titled “Show me the money” part one, I described 5 strategies that would save you time and money by archiving your data. The purpose was to “show you the money” that can be saved while improving Return on Investment and Total Cost of Ownership (ROI and TCO) for any IT dept.

Part two of the series has to do with keeping your data files clean and tidy. How much data do they have?  How full is the file system?

Keeping data files clean and tidy is a lot like my kids trying to keep their rooms clean.  They come in from school and drop all of their “stuff” on the floor in the kitchen and that drives me crazy. Last night we had a huge rainstorm and I got up in the middle of the night to check and make sure the house was all buttoned up.

A funny thing happened while I was walking through the kitchen towards the front door to check the lock. I tripped on a pair of shoes that my kids left in the MIDDLE of the floor. I actually fell. I wanted to yell out “help me I have fallen!” but it was the middle of the night and it was not worth disturbing the household.

You may be thinking, “what does this have to do with IT and saving money?” Simple, if you do not keep your file systems clean and tidy, you will have issues like running out of space or batch process taking more time.

Look at one of your larger file systems. How much data does it have? How full is the file system? Now here is the hard part.  Do you know what amount of data is junk or orphaned? Both of these types of data are extremely destructive.

Junk data is data which you have no real need to keep. For example, printer queues may be small but the data that is there is very transient and on a recovery they are completely useless. Those files are small and overtime could start to take up some real space.  Another junk file is a core dump. If your application goes down, it creates a core dump file. This core file can be VERY large, up to 2 times the size of the original application. If you have a 10 TB DB2 database you could have a 20 TB file. When there are application issues, usually they have a few failures and a few core dumps. After the problem is resolved, you return to what you were working on and those files are forgotten.

The junk files are on the top of the size scale but illustrates a huge problem. If you do not proactively manage your file system, it will fill with useless data and eventfully cause you more problems. For example, if the file system that houses your mail application fills up, the application will crash (which creates another dump file).

Orphan data is data that no longer belongs to an active user. This applies more to users file systems but just like junk data, it can cause overuse of disk. When a user leaves and you delete their accounts across your IT systems, the data is left behind. It is orphaned, as the owner no longer exists on the system.

What this means is that the data is no longer accessible, other than by the admin, because the user ID no longer exists. This is a huge issue for those industries with a high employee turnover rate such as banks, universities, and hospitals.

Next, a decision will need to be made about what to do with this data. Do you delete it or archive it or maybe use HSM to move it to other storage? The goal, of course, is to store only the usable data on the production disk. All the other data needs to go somewhere else.  In part one of this series, I suggested that you use the free archive tool you may already have in place with your data protection product.

The second way to save money at no cost, is to proactively manage your data stored on disk. Store only what you use. If you do not use it, move it from the active file system to a secondary landing site. The junk files can be deleted or moved until problems can be resolved.

Last point will surprise you.  According to some major research firms, up to 30% of the data that is out in your environment is either orphaned or “junk”.  If you manage your data proactively, you can reclaim space on your production disk

There are many tools you can use to easily find and take action on these types of data and let you take action on the data.  Some you already have with your operating system, some is free ware and some of the more advanced functionality would be in products that carry a price tag.  Any of these tools could help you manage your data.

As Jerry Maguire would say “Help me, help you!” by limiting the amount of active data you have to store thus extending the life of your IT resources.

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