For years, software companies have centered their marketing around “data growth,” and recently this need has become a reality. It’s no surprise that there is an outpouring of clients who are struggling to determine which category to drop their data into. What to keep and what to get rid of is a common question amongst longtime business leaders who have watched their companies expand and collect data along the way.
You’ve gotten into the habit of just adding more servers and hard drives when you see the capacity of each of the drives is approaching the magic 85% full mark. We know that early in our involvement with file data storage that was the extent of the analysis of the data backup system to determine when a new investment was needed. There wasn’t any practical intelligence available for what the current file types were in the environment, who were the culprits storing data by the gigabyte and why. The metrics just weren’t being collected and the analysis was done haphazardly and without performance parameters in mind. In short, we were flying blind, storing data that didn’t need to be stored, losing data when hard drives crashed from exceeding their safe capacity limits and always having to beg the CFO for money to add hardware to the storage infrastructure as unplanned expenditures. IT as a cost center took on the real meaning of being a money pit with no ROI to show for the effort.
Users with unlimited file data storage capacity really don’t understand the impact they have on the network. They see a network as a place for storing any number of files, including personal ones. In fact, it’s not unusual for an administrator to find all kinds of file data on network resources, including MP3, MOV, or even Torrent files. These personal files eat away at your primary storage space and increase the risk of an outage. But did you know that you can leverage user quotas to create awareness and educate users about the risks associated with poor file storage management?
It all comes down to creating a disciplined way of thinking about file data storage.
You may want to keep all information at your fingertips as your project is active, so you create a simple nomenclature and folder structure. Then you’ll begin sticking files in each of those folders and subfolders. You might even hoard your file data. File backup and tiering strategy may be a passing thought, but in reality, you ignore it and push to be “done later;” thinking that cost is relative and you have room on your SSD flash drive … and so it goes. You may conveniently forget how much the company invests in data infrastructure and what it costs to expand it in response to the user demand.