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Application Retirement – Preserving the Value of Data (Part One)

Whether the result of growth or acquisition, enterprises that have been around a decade or longer typically have large and complex information environments with lots of redundant and obsolete applications. But there’s always the worry that one day there will be a need to access the old applications’ data. So these applications are still managed and maintained even though the data is rarely needed resulting in sizable costs in license fees, maintenance, power, data center space, backups, and precious IT time. In many companies, there are hundreds, even thousands, of obsolete or redundant applications, and the business continues to support them with expensive production level infrastructure and SLAs.

But as we’re facing the longest double dip recession for 50 years, businesses are being forced to think about reclaiming this extraneous spend for more strategic purposes by retiring any outdated application…but without losing access to the data. Keeping data from dormant applications “live” as a safeguard is more than just good common sense. In many cases, keeping the data readily accessible is compulsory due to corporate, industry, and governmental compliance demands. But you needn’t spend full production costs to do so.

There is high potential for significant cost savings around archiving application data. For instance, inactive data can be selectively removed from applications to manage data growth in production environments, and backup and recovery can be streamlined, thus reducing hardware costs and improving system performance. But application retirement goes much, much further than this. Retirement means archiving everything and then decommissioning the legacy application.

With application retirement, the goal is to retain the data in an efficient manner. This typically means compressing it by 90 percent or more and saving it securely as an immutable file in lower cost storage and maintaining easy access. Doing this eliminates the need for the application license and frees up servers and storage for more critical purposes.

However, organisations still want to provide full query access and search across the retired data, so that they are available for audits and eDiscovery. Only when they can do this have they effectively retired the application, and not just pulled the plug on it wholesale.

Enterprises need to take a rational and productive approach to application retirement in order to preserve, access and manage legacy data in the long term for a fraction of the cost.

Watch out for the second half of this mini blog series, which will take a closer look at the software solutions that can best support application retirement.

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