By Peter Hentz and Julie Fouque
Are you undergoing or planning a data center consolidation? If so, it is an ideal time to review your application portfolio, eliminate legacy systems, and archive business-complete data.
When closing a data center, it is the perfect time to eliminate legacy systems, reduce maintenance costs for those systems, and move data that is required for retention or ongoing business purposes into a secure, cost-effective archive.
The starting place is application rationalization: reviewing your overall application portfolio with the goal of improving efficiency, reducing complexity, and lowering costs.
Results of application rationalization can take different forms, including migration to the cloud, archiving business-complete data, application consolidation, and sunsetting non-essential applications. This blog focuses on archiving business-complete data and decommissioning legacy systems.
Cost-Cutting Through Data Archiving and Application Decommissioning
During application rationalization analysis, it is common to identify applications that are no longer actively used but are kept largely to comply with data retention or other business reasons requiring ongoing access to legacy application data. These applications may be a result of mergers and/or acquisitions, home-grown departmental applications that have become outdated, application replacements for feature improvement, and other reasons.
Legacy applications that are no longer used are an ideal target for cost reduction. By moving their data to an archive, you can retire the systems and reduce maintenance and support costs.
Once you’ve identified candidate applications for decommissioning, these three actions can help you get started.
Step 1: Determine Data Retention Requirements
Early in the process, it is important to identify data which must be retained and in what form. Data which are subject to change will remain with active applications, potentially subject to other application rationalization options. Static, or business-complete, data fall into two general categories: that which must be retained and that which are no longer required. Applications for which all data fall into the latter category may be sunset without archiving. Data which still have business value or that are being kept for retention or compliance purposes (but are no longer subject to change) are ideal candidates for archiving.
Step 2: Identify Archiving Requirements
Once the data to be archived are identified, further data analysis identifies applications from which data may be consolidated into a single archive, as contrasted from applications for which data should remain discrete from other applications. The former case often requires additional data analysis and modeling to create a common data model representing all the necessary information. Discrete applications may be archived using the source application’s data model or may be transformed to a common model already supported by the chosen archive. Making these determinations leverages business desires, subject matter experts on the application and data, and some amount of art.
Among the business desires to consider are mining the data for business intelligence activities, frequently used reporting, record retention policies, frequency of access, size of user base, and performance. These factors also influence the choice of archiving platform.
Step 3: Select an Archiving Platform
Key criteria for identifying an archiving platform include security features, chain of custody, and ability to scale, among others. Flatirons can assist in evaluation of archiving platforms, as well as developing, training others to develop, or supporting development of the archive. We specialize in the development, implementation, and support of data archiving using OpenText™ InfoArchive and can help assess if this platform is a good option for your organization.
Whether you have already begun data center consolidation or are in the planning stages, including data archiving and application decommissioning are key to achieving cost reductions. Begin by understanding what data needs to be retained, your archiving requirements, and the best archiving platform for your needs. This will set you up for ongoing improvements in data management and cost reductions.