A Day of Data Deduplication Reckoning

Slide Show

Restoring Files: A $9 Billion Waste of Time

Survey finds that a staggering amount of IT personnel time is wasted on restoring files.

Truth be told, IT organizations waste a lot of time and money. They don't do this on purpose, of course, but rather because of inertia.

Take the case of data deduplication and file restoration. IT organizations spend a lot of time restoring files for users, especially overly large database files. Obviously, it would be a lot easier to restore all those files if there wasn't so much duplicate data in them. In fact, a recent survey of 300 IT managers conducted by the research firm Toluna on behalf of Quantum finds that the average IT organization spends about 131 hours a year on restoring files.

Chances are that most IT organizations have better things to do than restore files. In fact, when you include the lost opportunity costs, those numbers probably exceed the $9-plus billion that Quantum says we annually waste on restoring files.

Of course, it doesn't just stop there. We deploy a whole lot of IT infrastructure in the form of servers and storage to support all that duplicate data. In fact, when you add up all the systems and the people required to manage them, you start to see how many billions-maybe even trillions on a global basis-of dollars are being wasted because of duplicate data.

Data deduplication technologies have been around for a while now. But what's borderline criminal is the comparatively low rate of adoption. Many IT organizations, said Steve Whitner, marketing manager for Quantum enterprise disk products, are waiting until they can afford the next major upgrade to their storage systems before deploying data deduplication. In the meantime, the business in many cases is bleeding cash trying to manage huge volumes of duplicate data.

If more business executives truly understood the extent of the problem, most of them would be happy to fund the needed upgrades. But in the absence of a cogent business case, nothing gets done. In fact, you can't help but wonder if IT professionals don't embrace data deduplication because they're afraid that a reduction of IT infrastructure is going to result in job losses for them.

In the meantime, higher value services that IT professionals could be rendering the business remain largely undone because everyone is busy servicing massive amounts of data that in most cases is duplicate. The real question is how long are we going to collectively let this situation exist before the business leadership gets smart enough to start asking some pointed questions about it?

There's no doubt that the amount of data in the enterprise is growing. But that's all the more reason to clean up all the duplicate data. In the meantime, the odds are good that a day of reckoning is coming soon. And when it does, things might go a whole lot better for IT managers if they identify the problem and the required solution long before the business side decides to come to its own conclusions.