Is your business an expensive data museum? Study reveals 41% of data is gathering dust

According to a new study, the Data Genomics Index released by Veritas, many businesses are curating expensive data museums, with 41% of files managed by big businesses having not been touched in the last three years.12% of data can be categorised as 'ancient' or not touched within seven years.

Images, developer files and compressed files take up almost one third of the total environment. Departed employees live on in memory and their wasted storage space, with orphaned data also taking up more than its fair share of disk space based on file count distribution – over 200% more.

> See also: Legacy vs. IT: how to solve the great data archiving disconnect

Data without an attributed owner, either through role changes or employee departures, is orphaned. This data is often out of sight and out of mind for organisations and it is costing them.

Orphaned files are 222% larger than the average file and occupy 5% of expensive disk space.

Based on the insights from the Index, orphaned data tends to be content rich file types like videos, images and presentations – risky stuff to leave unattended.

Traditional 'office' formats like presentations, spreadsheets and documents take up more stale space then they should, costing organisations unnecessarily. Visual formats like videos and images are also extra burdensome.

These are where archiving, deletion or migration efforts are best spent, advise the reports authors, so organisations can prioritise areas to achieve significant returns.

According to the report, storage capacity requirements are growing 9% faster than we are creating individual files, so while behavioral change could certainly help curb some growth, this is definitely a storage management problem.

The storage environment is cluttered, where the average petabyte of information contains 2,312,000,000 files.

Considering the average 10 petabyte environment, an archive project focused on just stale presentations, documents, spreadsheets and text files, could return as much as $2 million (around £1.4 million) a year in storage savings.

Looking at where the remediation of individual files transaltes into the best storage space return, the report advises companies focus on these five formats to give you the best GB return per file: virtual machine file types, security file types, gaming file types, scientific file types and geographic information system file types.

'One thing we hear all the time from our customers is they’re struggling with two competing forces of nature – the exponential data growth curve, and the restriction of resources and budget to fight it with new servers and applications,' said Steve Vranyes, CTO, Veritas. 

> See also: Data archives – potential revenue stream or cause of chaos

But by getting an accurate picture of their data environments and an understanding of the vast amount of data they're creating, storing and managing on a daily basis, companies could change the grippling growth dynamic they're faced with.

Once they have this picture, clean up is no easy task, but system archiving of content-rich traditional office files such as presentation, spreadsheet and text files could cut storage costs in half, while getting rid of videos and audio data could free up enough space to cut 11% in storage costs.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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