Symantec survey: companies retaining way too much way too long

Symantec Corp.  released the findings of its 2010 Information Management Health Check Survey, which hammers home a point I made the other day about getting rid of unnecessary data.

For the current survey, Symantec  surveyed 1,680 enterprises in 26 countries.  They found that while 87% of respondents believe in the value of a formal information retention plan,  only 46 percent actually have one.  Too many enterprises save information indefinitely:

For example, three quarters of backups have infinite retention or are on legal hold. That is a huge number. Think of this: Some estimates are that there is roughly 50 petabytes of backup tape stock in enterprise backup libraries. That means nearly 38 petabytes of backup tape is dedicated to retaining enterprise information forever in a format that is extremely difficult to access and manage. To put that in perspective, 38 petabytes of backup tape would stretch to the moon and back 13 times with enough left over to circle the globe 7 times. That is a lot of tape.

Furthermore, enterprises told us they know a quarter of the information isn’t even needed and shouldn’t be retained.

Enterprises also report that one in six files is archived indefinitely.

According to the report, over-retention is having serious consequences:

Studies show that storage costs continue to skyrocket as over retention has created an environment where it is now 1,500 times more expensive to review data than it is to store it. And it is not just the raw cost of tape stock and hard disks, but the higher costs of managing such massive stores.

Second, backup windows are bursting at the seams. It is becoming increasingly common to hear of weekend backups taking more than a single weekend. Recovery times are even worse. The time it takes to restore such massive backups will bring any disaster recovery program to its knees.

Finally, with the massive amounts of information stored on difficult-to-access backup tapes, eDiscovery has become a lengthy, inefficient and costly exercise.

Read the full report here (pdf).

About the author: Dissent

Comments are closed.