Cash And Building Portablitiy Into A Complete Enterprise Storage Strategy

IT managers don't consider the potential loss of user data or users' other important data management needs when developing their enterprise storage strategy. A users' inablity to exchange large files or e-mail inside and outside of the company, archive e-mail files and take large files home and on the enterprise data includes an organization's centralized applications such as enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, manufacturing, finance and accounting, human resources and other mission-critical applications. To accommodate an increasing volume of data, IDC reports forecast that total server storage will grow from 205,000TB in 1999 to 1.3 million terabytes by 2002. IDC analysts also expect that total worldwide server storage spending will grow to $45 billion in 2002, from $32.3 billion in 1999. So, most IT managers carefully consider elaborate storage and data warehouse strategies that are compatible within their technological framework.

But for every 1GB of centralized data, IDC estimates that 2GB of data is scattered in departments and even more is out on desktop and laptop computers. That data is usually not directly tied to the organization's mission but still supports critical functions. In a survey by Market Trends, on a scale of 1-10, 90 percent of department managers rated the value of desktop user data a 7 or higher.

Eighty-two percent of these department managers said backup of end-user data was important to the organization. Therefore, a complete enterprise storage strategy considers the security of both centralized enterprise data and employee or end-user data.

Many corporations, however, do not consider the potential loss of user data or other important user data management needs, when developing their enterprise storage strategy. The potential for losing data (potentially hundreds of hours of work and untold cost of critical data) and the large costs associated with it mandates an immediate solution.

In addition, users' inability to perform basic tasks critical to their productivity (exchanging large files or e-mail inside and outside of the company, archiving e-mail files, carrying large files home and on the road, etc.) needs to be considered in planning an enterprise storage strategy.

But if employee data management were easy to accomplish, it would be happening more often. Only 49 percent of IT managers in the Market Trends survey responded that their users backed everything up to the network. Protecting and managing an individual's data is a tough job and many obstacles hinder the process. For example, network backup is often complicated and inconvenient. And users fear that once data is backed up to the network, they will never see it again.

And only 41 percent of laptops or other remote PCs get their data backed up on a regular basis, an indication that most current solutions don't work well for laptop users or remote sites. Also, many organizations have not provided a reasonable way to transfer and carry large files. Standard 1.44MB diskettes canÕt handle the size of today's files and e-mail attachments are often limited by corporate policy.

According to the Market Trends research, the average file size limit is 11MB. Also, the length of time e-mail remains on the server before being deleted is, on average, just over two months, indicating that most organizations do not provide an easy, if any way at all, to archive e-mail files.

The ideal solution, of course, is to house everything on a central network server. But it just doesn't happen. Some users will always store their data files on the desktop hard drive. And some users need to take files away from the network occasionally either to work at home or on the road. In reality, users like to have access to e-mail messages, even beyond three to six months. That's where portable storage helps to protect and transport these files away from the network.

As a complement to network storage, portable storage products help users manage their own data, simply, inexpensively and without a lot of technical support. On the other hand, according to IDC research, portable storage increases employee productivity by decreasing data recovery time in case of system problems and creating additional work hours by ensuring data is always available.

For example, portable data on hard drives can be password protected to prevent unauthorized use of the disk or its files in the event the disk is misplaced or stolen. And users can securely lock their disks in a file cabinet or briefcase by simply removing them to a separate location when a backup is complete.

Portable storage, which includes both optical and magnetic drives and disks in a range of capacities, protect organizations from data loss, allow for greater mobility of data and easy archiving of e-mail messages. With their low acquisition cost and versatility, portable storage solutions complement network storage and round out an enterprise storage strategy.

Kerry Brock is Director for Enterprise & OEM Marketing at Iomega Corp.