Last week I wrote a blog about saving costs in the “Keep-your-lights-on” category of IT spending. In it I mentioned how Application ILM helps to lower costs in the application retirement category. As a result of that blog several people emailed me asking what else Application ILM does. So, here goes …
I see Application ILM as focusing on four key areas within the Data Integration world. These are:
- Reducing Costs of Data Growth & Application Performance
Transaction volumes continue to grow and we just can’t stop ourselves from keeping it all hanging around for year after year after year! We humans just love to keep historical data around us! Of course a lot of this relates to ever increasing demands for record retention due to regulatory compliance and data governance. Over time, our systems become clogged with data, performance slows down, users begin to complain, upgrades take longer, patching becomes more complicated, and tuning evolves into an expensive art form reserved only for the most accomplished DBA.
So what do we do? We upgrade hardware, add storage, and bring in consultants only to find we’re back at it again in three months time… after all there’s no alternative – right? Well, wrong! You can use Application ILM to define business rules and to set thresholds for archiving dormant data. By shrinking your production applications, you lower overall costs related to maintaining applications while still ensuring seamless access to the data. Performance doesn’t degrade, you spend less time administering the systems and you eliminate the need to buy additional storage. That’s the whole point of Application ILM.
- Reducing Costs of Test Data Management
This is a good one – and one that resonated with the audience at our recent MDM seminar in Boston. How do you ensure that your development effort is aligned with the business? You work against real data and test against real data of course! Hmm … that means having real data available somewhere for non-production use. Normal IT procedures mean we make and distribute full copies of our production database. Not only is this a massive security risk, but it is also an expensive task.
According to industry analysts, Enterprise Strategy Group, these secondary copies of the datasets require at a minimum four to five times more database and storage capacity. With Application ILM you create much smaller subsets of production data that still retain the characteristics of the full data set, so that your tests are meaningful. And mask them to keep the data private – significantly reducing your storage costs and meeting your security requirements as well.
- Reducing Costs of Compliance
We are now all aware of increased regulatory policies, like SOX, which necessitate holding onto larger amounts of business critical data for longer periods of time. In some industries, such as Financial Services, this means holding on to data for more than 10 years and presents IT with a fundamental issue on how to deal with this requirement.
Yes, we can simply try to hold the data in our production applications (but my point (1) above said don’t do that!) or we can compress the data and intelligently move it to lower cost, file-based storage where we eliminate the need for expensive RDBMS licenses and can still access the data to our hearts content for reporting and eDiscovery. You can even move these historical, business critical transactions into your favorite enterprise content manager from vendors like—EMC, Symantec, Hitachi, Oracle, and Commvault. Application ILM lets you do this.
- Reducing Costs Through Application Retirement
There’s a lot of industry consolidation around, and it’s probably going to continue. There’s also a lot of operational consolidation taking place. I spoke recently to a large financial institution that is really a series of competing holding companies. Their new directive from the CEO is to pull together IT operations and drive economies of scale.
Application retirement is an important part of realizing such cost synergies. Whether moving away from proprietary mainframe technologies, rationalizing applications, or consolidating instances of specific applications, there is a growing trend toward decommissioning applications to get more out of existing IT budgets. Forrester indicates that companies that aggressively manage their application portfolio have reported 10-30% reductions in overall maintenance costs within 12 months. Application ILM helps you achieve these goals.
These are just four examples where Application ILM can help drive serious costs savings across IT. As part of the overall data integration lifecycle, these areas all relate to driving down the costs of data management. It’s all about being sensible and understanding how to align the business value of information with the most cost effective IT infrastructure to manage it.
Retire applications if you can (it’ll reduce your running costs), keep the data volumes below a realistic threshold (it’ll reduce your running costs), store data sensibly on lower cost storage devices (it’ll reduce your running costs) and keep your data safe for years and years to come.
We’re very excited about our role in helping IT to be more efficient. Check out the products – Informatica Data Archive, Informatica Data Subset and Informatica Data Privacy and start reducing your application TCO!