Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Case for Rightsizing Your Information Footprint, Cleaning House and Stopping Stupidity



 Demystifying Storage Is Cheap

It’s really funny when a smart IT person tells me that “storage is cheap” and asks why they should clean house of digital data debris (D3). For most businesses their information volume is growing between 30-50 % per year. The decline in storage cost per terabyte is a few % per year. So in real terms, most businesses are spending way more in real dollars to store information. The storage cost along for 1 petabyte of information is roughly between $5-10 million per year.   So why care about D3—because if you could get rid of some of it, there is potentially a whole bunch of savings associated with the action.

In a few short years Facebook has amassed an information pile that is not surprisingly really massive.  According to the March 11, 2013 Wall Street Journal the data comprising just Facebook users alone is 100 petabytes of stuff.  For those of you not tapped into information volumes, that is a 1 followed by 17 zeros.  In simple terms that is in excess of a hundred billion files.  Imagine what the Facebook info trove will look like after a few decades in business.

Debunking Big Data

Big data is not just a description of a huge pile of info. Rather Big Data is the idea that if you take your big pile of info minus D3 and connect the dots using powerful analytics technologies, that you will be a faster and better business. You can learn things about business past and future to be more efficient. Assuming that you can actually pull off harnessing Big Data for big value, the D3 is still unneeded information background noise that makes unearthing info import that much more challenging. So get rid of D3.

Lawyers are People too and Litigators are Predictably Short Sided

Contrary to popular belief, lawyers are people too. They make mistakes just like the rest of you people.  When they do something that is going to add to your pile of D3 and you don’t know why, stop and address the issue. Usually lawyers stop the wheels of progress (i.e. preserve the back-up tapes though policy says it should go away after a short time) or cleaning up the crud because the one involved litigator sleeps better being able to say that nothing could have been destroyed because they don’t destroy anything. The problem is that while they are sucking their thumb in their bunny eared feety pajamas the IT folks are up wandering the halls wondering how they will pay for the mess and keep systems running without overloading and seizing up. Once this “Lawyer Induced Everything Saved” (LIES) regime is started, trying to unwind it is really difficult especially with so many subsequent lawsuits.  So unless a court mandates the “save everything” regime, don’t give in. “You’re smart enough, and strong enough, and gosh darn it I like you.”