Copy Data Management Best Practices

One of the biggest contributors and culprits of the rise in volume of data and storage in the data center is copy data. Copies of production data that are being created to fulfill business needs. According to IDC, copy data will cost IT organizations $50.63 billion by 2018 (60% of the storage budget). Yet IT budgets are increasing on average by 7% per year, which does not keep pace with the rise in costs from the growth of data volumes.

There are more than cost considerations when thinking about copy data though. Copy data sprawl increases the risk of unauthorized access and copies can take days and weeks to create at a time when the business needs access to data on-demand 24x7. It’s no surprise that Copy Data Management is a top priority for 2016 / 2017.

There are several signs that indicate the need to establish a solid Copy Data Management process. The top signs are:

  • Copy Sprawl (the many secondary copies of data you create from a single primary source) is a real and present issue for the business.
  • The cost of producing and maintaining copies of production data is high.
  • The process for producing copies of production data is highly complex involving some combination of Backup, Storage, Database administrative assistance as well as inputs from Risk/Compliance personnel.
  • The risk associated with copies of potentially private or sensitive data is either unknown or very difficult to calculate.
  • Data users are often blocked waiting for production data to be copied or refreshed for them.

If these signs look familiar you are not alone. The good news is that there are solutions and best practices you can apply to manage copy data more efficiently. When looking to reduce the vast volume of copies of production data and your reliance on a complex, costly, time-consuming process for provisioning copies of production data, consider the following:

  • Many copies of production data exist for a reason; legitimate business needs to access and use copies of production datasets. “Fixing” copy sprawl isn’t about fixing the requests for copies, it’s about fixing the inefficient manner in which the requests are transacted and resolved.
  • When improving the business’ access to data consider that you rarely want to give access to the primary, production copy (for obvious reasons). Instead, think about how you could make better use of existing copies of those production datasets for maximum efficiency. E.g. backup copies.
  • You want to optimise firstly for the people who need the data. Consider a solution which targets the data consumer/requestor and not the IT operations team – however, consider how you can make better use of IT personnel through alleviating the pressures of time spent continuously creating copies of data (they want this too).
  • Reducing the volume and associated infrastructure needed to store and maintain copy data brings dramatic cost savings. These cost savings enable you to redirect funds as needed. However, consider how you can also decrease the risk to the business of copies of sensitive or private data getting into the wrong hands by automating the implementation of strict data masking/obfuscation policies.
  • Finally, recognise that overall you are solving the problem of enabling access to copies of production data on-demand. The business wants to access data 24x7 and IT is struggling to make that happen in a way that is aligned with business demand. Solve for access and the rest will take of itself.

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