Big Data

Tackling that unstructured data mess, practically

By Peter Kraatz June 1, 2012

Yesterday I wrote a little about the resurgence of phone calls asking about ILM and played a bit of a highlight reel as to a workable strategy from the perspective of a Compliance expert.  The challenge, as I stated, was to tackle this massive problem in unstructured data without trying to solve for world peace in the process.  Today I want to talk more practically about addressing unstructured data growth.  This is timely, since the customer panel at EMC World is talking about this right now.

How We Do It

In Consulting, we help clients tackle the unstructured data estate either through a complete storage and data management strategy or through a tactical, targeted project to size, identify and execute on opportunities to control that data.  The steps are the same either way and assume the client has no tools at their disposal to accelerate the process:

1.) Deploy lightweight discovery tools to capture the disposition of the unstructured data in question such as duplication, aging (last modification, last access) and file types (among other metadata elements)

2.) Talk to the business to understand their requirements for managing those unstructured files such as retention and access requirements, compliance considerations and other legal/regulatory concerns

3.) Review the application and storage infrastructure architecture requirements to support the unstructured estate

How That Works

Step one simply tells us if there is a problem in the first place.  If we scan a petabyte of data and find it frequently used and possessing of high business value, the goals change in steps two and three pretty rapidly from purging data to managing it more cheaply.  We are not often surprised.  Out of this data collection effort we know how big is the problem and where should we focus efforts to correct it (e.g., de-duplication versus archive or purge).


Read More and Comment: Peter’s The Practical Polymath Blog

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