Information lifecycle management (ILM), a term widely used by storage vendors and users alike, is not achievable, according to those attending an ILM roundtable in London last week.
Instead, the major driver for storage policies is compliance with existing and new legislation - such as the Sarbanes-Oxley and Patriot Acts in the US and Basel II in the banking sector - related to information contained in the data.
"ILM per se is a myth, a destination at best," said Marcus Hill, general manager of storage at BT Retail.
"Information risk management might be a better term [as] it is compliance-driven and involves people, not just software and hardware."
Delegates at the event, hosted by storage systems vendor Rainfinity, agreed that policies for classifying data were necessary to determine where it should be held, and easing data movement between on-line and archive storage media.
"In many instances, companies need a much more agile storage infrastructure," said Steve Parker, networks technical architect with the John Lewis Partnership.
"There are solutions. A virtualisation layer is a key enabler - a point of administration control."
Nick Bunyan, practice manager at software vendor Computer Associates, said most organisations did not know what information they had, while 75 per cent of information became stale and valueless after two years.
But William Brown, senior storage consultant at GlaxoSmithKline, suggested that keeping all information might be easier than attempting ILM.
He said: "Is it cheaper to keep it [for compliance purposes], than to pay someone to find out what it is?"
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