Information Lifecycle Management:
Most Happening Buzzword in the Storage Industry


Neha Amar
MBA (2005-07)
ICFAI National College

Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is one of the newest trends of the IT sector. After so many storage mediums and techniques, it has now become the most happening buzzword of the storage industry. To avoid the malfunctioning of information and prevent the disasters, this lifecycle has emerged out as a new technique of recovery implementations. ILM plays a pivotal role in helping IT professionals' stay to new standards while incurring minimum management headaches.

Information Lifecycle Management is a process for maintaining information storage at the least possible cost, while concurrently maintaining appropriate levels of availability. It is a powerful IT strategy based on a very simple fact that all type of information is not of equal value. Sometimes, today's urgent e-mail is more important than last year's staff memo and over the time, the value of information keeps on increasing or decreasing. Based on its changing value to the organization, the information requires different levels of accessibility and protection. And that's ILM is all about. The thing that is important to remember here is that ILM is not a technology rather it is a combination of processes and technologies that determines how data flows through an environment. With this functionality, ILM helps end users manage data from the moment it is created to the time it is no longer needed. Today many companies are implementing a combination of these technologies and processes to enable a successful ILM practice. ILM uses a number of technologies and business methodologies, including the following ones:

Assessment In the assessment phase of ILM, storage administrators uses storage resource management (SRM) technologies. This technology helps IT administrators figure out what data resides on the storage assets in their environment.

Socialization After the assessment phase, reports using the SRM tools are prepared and they are presented to the company's department heads that explains the breakdown of storage asset utilization and the costs involved. This is called as the socialization phase.

Classification After understanding the data usage patterns, department heads determine how this data is used and how critical it is to the business at any given point in time. Here it is determined that where data should live through its lifecycle and how it will migrate through the proper storage "class" over time. For this a classification schema is made for the company and within this scheme data is classified in following ways: Data type, Data organization, Data age and Data value.

Automation After the classification of data, IT and the department agrees on a plan for where their data should live at any point in its life cycle. The policies for this are established to determine where (on which storage resources) the data should be located. Automated Data Migration (ADM) tools are used to automate the migration of data from one storage class to another based on user-defined policies. ADMs are essentially a combination of intelligent SRM and hierarchical storage management (HSM). HSM is used to automate data migration for archival purposes.

Review The system should be reviewed periodically. The department heads must ensure that which data is essential to the continuity of business operations. To protect those data that must remain readily available processes such as mirroring and replication to remote arrays or sites should be incorporated.

The very true example of ILM that showed its effectiveness and competency is its key role in HP to help it out to put 80 years of Time magazines online.

To accomplish this task, HP made collaboration between its Consulting and Integration (C&I) group and HP Labs undertook the responsibility of both the groups that they would go beyond their usual areas of strength and put everything under intense pressure to attain the target. By the end of the year, through a mixture of technological innovation and disciplined process management, the TIME team processed the entire archive with almost 100 percent accuracy using ILM.

ILM is as significant business process as CRM and ERP. An effective ILM implementation streamlines the costs and management efficiencies. This is more helpful for IT organizations as it ensures that critical data is given top-priority storage resources and is always available. With ILM, one can get the most valued information at every point in its lifecycle. ILM also lets you access information to enrich and streamline business processes, identify new revenue opportunities, and remain competitive.

Neha Amar
MBA (2005-07)
ICFAI National College

Source: E-mail January 13, 2007




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