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October 1, 2008

Companies ineffective at managing ‘persistent data’

A new survey claims to show that companies are not effectively managing their ‘persistent data’ – the non-changing static data that makes up the majority of stored corporate information.

By Jason Stamper

The survey of 250 IT professionals at Fortune 1000 companies, government and academic institutions around the world, found that 71% of companies are storing persistent data on either primary storage or a mix of primary and archival systems – an expensive, inefficient and environmentally wasteful method for storing static data, according to survey sponsors Copan Systems.

According to Copan Systems, which describes itself as a leader in persistent data storage systems, “The survey indicates that IT departments are not managing their persistent data effectively and are not fully educated about the environmental and economical impact of their current storage decisions.”

While most industry analysts estimate persistent data to account for 70% or more of all corporate data, only 30% of the respondents estimated their persistent data to be that large. This is an indication, Copan Systems said, that most companies do not understand how much persistent data is clogging their storage networks.

20% of respondents acknowledged that they did not know how much persistent data currently resides on their systems, the survey found.

“Storing persistent data that is infrequently accessed on primary storage systems is a huge waste both economic and environmental resources,” said Jay Gagne, solutions architect, Copan Systems. “We have found that many companies don’t fully grasp the types of data they are storing and how to store it effectively.”

“There is a great untapped opportunity,” said Gagne, “for companies to leverage more cost effective storage strategies to help dramatically alleviate the pressures that persistent data is putting on data centres around the world.”

“All organisations should constantly seek better understanding of all their data so that they can employ the most appropriate and cost effective solutions, and nowhere is this more important than with the vast amounts of persistent corporate data,” said Mark Peters, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “Although no-one truly knows the actual percentage of data that is persistent, we estimate it to be at least 60% of data, probably more, and definitely growing. Yet many data centres simply do not have the right architecture in place to address this.”

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“Persistent data (whether it becomes so, or whether it is indeed born so) needs a different storage approach from dynamic data,” Peters added, “both in terms of device and process, if users want improved operational and economic efficiencies in their data centres.” 

Management complexity is the top pain point in managing persistent data, selected by 36% of respondents in the survey. Shrinking IT budgets ranked second (20%), followed by rising costs of storing data (18%).

Compliance requirements were selected as the top driver in the growth of persistent data by 22% of respondents. The ability of users to create more content ranked second at 17%.

Copan Systems is a vendor of what it calls persistent data storage systems: namely MAID systems, which stands for massive array of idle disks. MAID is a storage technology that employs a large group of disk drives in which only those drives in active use are spinning at any given time. This is claimed to reduce power consumption and prolong the lives of the drives.

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