The money pit of stale, orphan data

The money pit of stale, orphan data

Tossing that old, unused data could save organizations in 10-petabyte environments an estimated $20.5 billion annually, according to a recent report by data management vendor Veritas Technologies.

In fact, deleting stale and orphaned data (data without an associated owner) could reduce the amount of data storage required as well as cut associated costs by almost half.  Orphaned data is particularly expensive; while such ownerless information takes up only 1.6 percent of the total file population, it uses 5.1 percent of the total storage capacity.

More than 40 percent of corporate data has not been modified (i.e. is stale and unused) in three years, and 12 percent of data hasn’t been modified in seven years, Veritas reported in its Data Genomics Index report.

The worst offenders were images and developer files. These orphaned files, which tend to be rich file types like videos, images and presentations, were “disproportionately overweight and extra stale,” being 222 percent larger than the average file. Developer files accounted for 20 percent of the stale data.

Archiving just stale presentations, documents, spreadsheets and text files could save $2 million annually, reducing storage costs by 50 percent in an average 10 PB environment. Deleting audio and video files would cut costs by 11 percent.

“If you want to recover storage space, focusing on content without an owner is a good place to start,” said the report.

Then look at the virtual machine, security, gaming, scientific and geographic information system file types, Veritas recommends. Deleting these will deliver the best storage space return per file.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.


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