This is the first in a series debunking three common myths about enterprise applications and the data that drives them.
Myth: Enterprise applications and the data in them live and die together.
Fact: Applications and data have different lifecycles. Sometimes the life of the data is shorter than the application. Sometimes it is longer. Either way, the friction between the two raises the cost and complexity of sustaining your applications. To get this under control, you have to have a separate approach for managing the data vs. managing the application.
When data has a shorter lifespan than the application, it means that the data has become inactive or irrelevant. Sometimes it can even be a legal liability, which is why companies are increasingly putting into play data disposal and purging policies so data is not held longer than needed for business and compliance purposes.
But many applications become bloated with inactive data over the years or even decades. This inactive data is a huge cost sink—it increases the hardware and software maintenance costs due to the sheer size of the data footprint. It reduces the performance of the applications. And it can be a big risk from a legal and compliance perspective. So it’s important to have a consistent and streamlined way to identify inactive or expired data, and to remove it from the application so it is not draining resources.
Other problems arise when the life of the data is longer than the life of the application. In many organizations, there can be dozens if not hundreds of legacy applications that no longer provide any meaningful functionality to the business. New applications have been put into place which now support the core business processes, and the legacy applications should be retired. However, the old applications contain valuable data and information which needs to be retained, and everyone is too afraid of losing that data to actually turn the application off. Why? Figuring out which data to keep and then offloading it from the application to an accessible archive can be exceedingly difficult, especially when there is no one left in the organization who has any idea how the application works.
To handle these problems, you need information lifecycle management (ILM) tools to ensure that you can manage the data through its lifecycle, separate from the application. Sometimes the data needs to die before the application does. Sometimes it needs to be preserved long after the application is gone. Either way, ILM tools such as data archiving are a core component of a data management strategy for your applications. With these tools, you can take a huge amount of the cost out of sustaining your existing applications, freeing up valuable dollars and time to work on things that are going to have true business impact.