5 Steps to Reduce Your Company’s Copy Data Posted on Jul 13th, 2015 by Joe E Data

Categories: Copy Data, Copy Data Management, Data Backup, Data Recovery, IDC

Not very long ago, Catalogic and International Data Corporation (IDC) co-hosted a webinar about the importance of copy data management (CDM). Topics of the webinar on CDM included:

  • Current trends
  • Challenges involved in CDM
  • How to approach CDM
  • Client requirements and expectations
  • Client results

Laura DuBois, the VP of Storage Research at IDC made her presentation of IDC’s insights into copy data management that they gleaned from years of research and direct experience in dealing with data management.

Here are a few highlights from the webinar to help give you a leg up on the issue of managing your company’s excess copy data.

Data Volumes are growing, but IT spending is Not Keeping Pace

In her presentation, Laura mentions that “data management is becoming more challenging as data is located in a variety of locations and repositories, not just on  premise, but now in public clouds, in software services, and in private clouds as well.”

The increasing number of potential locations for storing backup or copy data vastly increase the complexity of managing said data, not to mention the disaster recovery process which the copy data was ostensibly created for in the first place.

The increased difficulty in managing copy data and the increased stringency of service-level agreements (SLAs) are increasing data management costs at a faster rate than the growth of the average IT budget. This, in turn, is making harder for storage administrators and managers to meet SLAs concerning availability, recovery, and performance.

The Hardware Budget for Storing Copy Data is expected to Top $50 Billion by 2018

According to IDC research that Laura presented in the webinar, the various copies of data created for analytics for data warehousing, reporting, test and dev, archiving, compliance, disaster recovery, and every other application that copy data gets put to use for consume roughly 60% of the total storage capacity, in aggregate, across the industry.

In other words, more than half of your company’s storage hardware budget may be getting used just for the storage of redundant data.

The worst part? Most of these copied data files are completely unnecessary. So many copies of data files are created as a “what if we need this later” contingency by individuals with little or no coordination of copy data management being carried out between individuals.

In some cases, an organization might have as many as 50 copies of the same piece of data, although the industry average according to IDC is closer to 15 to 20 copies of any given piece of data. For basic data backup and disaster recovery tasks, having so many copies is excessive, so there’s definitely room to minimize.

Excessive Copy Data Slows Down Recovery

One of the major drawbacks to having too much copy data is that it slows down backup and recovery tasks. When your company suffers from too much data bloat, meeting your backup windows becomes difficult, if not impossible. The more redundant or unnecessary copy data you have, the harder it will be to meet your backup windows.

In a worst-case scenario, a company might be left with no downtime as everyone moves to an “always on” environment. For companies with too much extraneous backup files, the backup window might be drawn out to taking 50% or more time than it should.

Actual restore and recovery times also suffer when an organization has too many redundant copies of a file. Generally speaking, this increase is proportional to the one incurred by your backup process.

Even worse, storing all of this extraneous data means eating up more storage space and expending more energy for storing data, which translates into wasted IT budget.

The Five Step Solution

In her presentation, Laura highlighted that there are five key steps that companies should start with when addressing CDM challenges:

  1. Define the Business Requirements for Your Copy Data. Each instance of copy data should be there to serve a purpose. Identifying which copies have a purpose and what that purpose is the first step in handling your excess copy data.
  2. Determine the Difference between What Exists and What’s Required. Once you know what your business’ requirements for copy data are, you can take a look at what you have and what’s really needed.
  3. Put Policies in Place to Pull Back from Creating Excess Copies. Eliminate any unnecessary extra copies that are just eating up storage space and slowing down data management tasks.
  4. Assess Opportunities to Use a Single Copy for Multiple Users. If you can repurpose single copies for multiple users, you don’t have to have unique copies for each individual person, which reduces your copy data load.
  5. Put a Monitoring System in Place. You can’t measure what you can’t monitor, and you can’t change what you can’t measure. You have to have visibility of your copy data so that you can enact control measures and rules.

These five simple steps are critical to improving your company’s control of its copy data and saving money on hardware costs for storing the information you need on a day-to-day basis to meet your SLAs and keep operations running smoothly.

Check out the video of the webinar to see Laura’s whole presentation, as well as some points from Catalogic’s own CEO, Ed Walsh, and Steve Kenniston as they discuss how to gain the visibility you need to improve your copy data management efforts.