FutureBy Karen S. Henrie Print
The value of information changes over time, and information lifecycle management is designed helps companies take advantage of those changes. But integration woes remain.
ILM maturity will take several years. In the meantime, CIOs should stay informed about the state of the ILM industry. The immaturity of tools that can help implement ILM is a real drawback today. For example, storage-resource-management tools can help scan storage resources for different types of files, and report on usage, disk availability and the like. Yet few SRM tools can access all of a company's structured, unstructured, and semi-structured (e.g., e-mail) data.
Pillar's Workman points out that storage vendors haven't been much help in providing the tools IT shops need to classify information for ILM. "We have the ability to store data. We are even good at data lifecycle management; we know how to efficiently move data around. But we don't have the tools and techniques to understand all the information about the metadata that's essential for ILM."
Symons of EMC predicts a smoother future for ILM. "Three years from now the number of separate tools you will need to implement ILM will be dramatically reduced, and companies will be more focused on implementing the right policies." Archiving tools that work across all data types will be widely available, and companies may develop unified approaches to both backup and recovery, as well as archiving. Classification rules will feed into both, and those processes will be much more automated.
According to Workman, it will be companies such as Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp.not storage vendorsthat will eventually build the superstructure that will help businesses turn their data into information, whether it's an Excel spreadsheet or a data-logging application in a laboratory. He envisions that Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system "will help you organize it, classify it, and shuffle it to the right place at the right time."
Despite the many near-term challenges, Gartner's Russell still thinks ILM is worth pursuing. "There are real, immediate benefits from performing ILM activities like tiered storage, data classification, and archiving. But CIOs need to understand the current state of the industry, and the effort required to implement ILM on a holistic level. They'll still need to be the integrator and have the business conversations that underlie true ILM."
What can we implement today that will better position us to evolve into a functional ILM strategy two or three years from now?
What tools do we already have, and still need, to support the steps of an ILM implementation?
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