Just like your house needs yearly spring cleaning and you need to regularly throw out old junk, your application portfolio needs periodic review and rationalization to identify legacy, redundant applications that can be decommissioned to reduce bloat and save costs. If you have a hard time letting go of old stuff, it’s probably even harder for your application users to let go of access to their data. However, retiring applications doesn’t have to mean that you also lose the data within them. If the data within those applications are still needed for periodic reporting or for regulatory compliance, then there are still ways to retain the data without maintaining the application.
So how do you decommission legacy applications and eliminate the associated costs while still retaining access to the data? By archiving it to an optimal format that allows easy access to the data from any reporting tool. Converting the data to an optimal format also means that the data can be highly compressed to significantly reduce storage requirements. Think of the amount of hardware and software maintenance contract costs you can save! Not to mention the high end server, storage and maintenance staff that you can reclaim and redeploy to more critical applications. There are also other hidden costs that can be saved, such as tape devices that are used to regularly backup the data, power consumption and data center footprint.
Also think about the amount of risk you are taking from keeping these old applications around when your organization no longer has the IT skill set required to maintain or access the data within them. When a legal discovery or compliance audit occurs, how will you be able to access or search for the data that you need? You can’t just backup the data from those applications and decommission them, because this doesn’t help your responsiveness to eDiscovery requests. It will take forever for you to find the data that you need across hundreds or even thousands of tape drives.
Archiving is the safe and cost-effective solution when you need to retire legacy applications while still retaining access to the data. Some archiving solutions also enforce retention and disposal policies so that you can associate retention policies based on regulations and safely purge the data in a legally defensible manner, once the retention period expires. Keeping data forever not only increases costs but also poses a legal risk. Why keep data around longer than you need to? Think about the hidden costs here too, because failing to produce data required for a legal case in a timely manner can cost you even more than the cost of maintaining it. Not to mention the possible incriminating evidence that you never thought about. Timely data purging is just good data management practice.
When you are next pressured about your dwindling IT budget and the number of projects that you need to deliver, think about what applications in your application portfolio can be decommissioned to free up cost. And remember that getting rid of applications doesn’t also mean getting rid of the data– you can archive the data, save costs and maintain accessibility. But that does not mean that you should keep data forever, you should still practice periodic purging of expired data to reduce risk and costs.
If you’re planning on attending Informatica World this year, please come by the Data Warehouse Archiving product roadmap breakout and the archiving and retirement Hands-on Lab to learn more about Informatica’s Data Archive product and archiving and application retirement solutions.