News
4/1/2011
04:44 PM
Kurt Marko
Kurt Marko
Commentary
Connect Directly
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Data Storage Vs. Information Management

A recent reader response to my State of Storage 2011 report got me thinking about the difference between data and information, or, more generally between technology itself and the ways we creatively use it to solve problems. State of Storage, as these annual reviews are wont to do, focused on trends in storage technology. My correspondent, however, called me for not discussing informati

A recent reader response to my State of Storage 2011 report got me thinking about the difference between data and information, or, more generally between technology itself and the ways we creatively use it to solve problems. State of Storage, as these annual reviews are wont to do, focused on trends in storage technology. My correspondent, however, called me for not discussing information management-one way we apply tech to improve how we do business. "I was underwhelmed with the article in that it only focused on the technology platform components of storage and was silent on how we should organize the data we store," he wrote. "In an old-world analogy, it would be like the Library of Congress worrying about the number of shelves they build and the type of wood to build the shelves."While we always like getting feedback, this is akin to complaining that a Motor Trend Car of the Year report is silent on the topic of alternative fuels and national energy policy: "All you talked about was engines and handling. There was nothing on moving away from petroleum-based vehicles to battery cars and fuel cells." The State of Storage report really was tailored to shelf-builders, not library curators; it's the nature of the beast. Similarly, our upcoming State of the Data Center report will explore PUE, cooling system design and cable management, and not make value judgements about the type of data stored, or applications running on the servers overheating those racks.

Still, our correspondent's larger point is valid: "Prior to buying more shelves, we need to decide what we will store directly ... and how I expect users to find the right information at the right time. Those decisions will drive the platform architecture decisions and make for a more effective solution." Indeed, when faced with increasing demands, IT has a tendency to just add "shelves" (read: disk arrays or servers) rather than addressing the underlying factors fueling the demand. The reason is simple: It's historically been easier (and cheaper) to just throw hardware at the problem rather than peel the onion to examine larger information or application architecture deficiencies.

However, the days of easy technology fixes really are ending. Managing vast pools of data is consuming an increasing share of the IT storage budget and, as my report points out, adding more spindles is unwise. While my recommendations concerned technical ways to make more efficient use of existing capacity, our correspondent highlights another strategy for tackling out-of-control storage demands; information management. You can maximize storage with techs like deduplication, or you can just store less data.

The concept of information lifecycle management (ILM) isn't new, but if you're going broke building new shelves, it's worth a second look as part of an effective enterprise storage strategy. ILM isn't a new topic, yet it has been tried (and often abandoned) by many enterprises over the years, but not because it's a bad idea, but rather because it's hard and doesn't lend itself to simple technological fixes. Products that equated the frequency of data access with information importance were easy for vendors to implement, but woefully incomplete as information management tools. Certainly the technology for categorizing, indexing and archiving data has greatly improved, as evidenced by automatic tiering features mentioned in the State of Storage, but technology is just a tool. ILM is really more about retention standards, archive processes and IT governance. ILM is undoubtedly an important element of an effective enterprise storage strategy and one worthy of its own treatment. I thank our writer for pointing this out and look forward to addressing his concerns in a future report.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-3966
Published: 2015-08-30
The IPsec SA establishment process on Innominate mGuard devices with firmware 8.x before 8.1.7 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (VPN service restart) by leveraging a peer relationship to send a crafted configuration with compression.

CVE-2015-4555
Published: 2015-08-30
Buffer overflow in the HTTP administrative interface in TIBCO Rendezvous before 8.4.4, Rendezvous Network Server before 1.1.1, Substation ES before 2.9.0, and Messaging Appliance before 8.7.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service or possibly execute arbitrary code via unspecified vect...

CVE-2015-5698
Published: 2015-08-30
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the web server on Siemens SIMATIC S7-1200 CPU devices with firmware before 4.1.3 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of unspecified victims via unknown vectors.

CVE-2015-4497
Published: 2015-08-29
Use-after-free vulnerability in the CanvasRenderingContext2D implementation in Mozilla Firefox before 40.0.3 and Firefox ESR 38.x before 38.2.1 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code by leveraging improper interaction between resize events and changes to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) token...

CVE-2015-4498
Published: 2015-08-29
The add-on installation feature in Mozilla Firefox before 40.0.3 and Firefox ESR 38.x before 38.2.1 allows remote attackers to bypass an intended user-confirmation requirement by constructing a crafted data: URL and triggering navigation to an arbitrary http: or https: URL at a certain early point i...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.