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Data ROT

: You'll want to clean it out in the new year

Cost-conscious organizations are reducing data storage waste with AI-driven tools
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Darnell Fatigati
Darnell Fatigati
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It’s estimated that at least 30% of an organization's unstructured data is redundant, obsolete, or trivial (ROT). This is data that an organization continues to retain even though it has no business or legal value. What an appropriate acronym! But why are so many of you still storing your “ROTten” data?

This situation is getting more critical because unstructured data is exploding, representing 80% to 90% of all new enterprise data and growing 3 times faster than structured data. More and more of this data resides outside the on-premises data center, where it can grow quickly without you noticing. With huge pressure on IT to optimize spending, both on premises and in the cloud—especially given the current economic times—removing or at least minimizing ROT seems like it would be a no-brainer.

But it isn’t as easy as cleaning out all those tools and supplies you’ve hoarded over the years in your garage. At least there, you can physically see what you have and organize it so you can get rid of the stuff you no longer need (or that’s a liability to keep—like that rusty saw you haven’t used in 5 years).

Do you know what’s lurking in the dark?

The problem with your enterprise data is that most of it is dark data—data that most organizations don’t even know they have. It’s generated by people, machines, and processes across your organization and is stored but not used. Not only does storing this data cost a lot, but it clogs your data repositories, making it harder for you to find the useful data that’s needed to drive business decisions. Then there’s the environmental and sustainability impact of retaining data that has no value—you need more shelves and therefore more power, more cooling, and more data center space either on premises or in the cloud.

If you have no visibility into this data, how can you categorize it as redundant, obsolete, or trivial so that you can clean it up? Being able to classify your data doesn’t just help you optimize your existing on-premises and cloud storage resources—it helps prevent you from migrating unnecessary data, and incurring added costs, when you take on new cloud migration projects.

AI-driven BlueXP classification reduces ROT, puts you in control

As unstructured and dark data proliferates, we see more organizations adopting tools that give them insight into their data so they can control it more easily to minimize ROT.

Our answer to this is NetApp® BlueXP® classification, a data governance and classification service that’s powered by NetApp Cloud Data Sense. It’s delivered through the BlueXP control plane, and provides insight and reporting for both on-premises and cloud storage across a wide array of data types and technology vendors.

NetApp BlueXP classification showcase

BlueXP classification automatically scans your data sources (NetApp and third-party) and uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to analyze, map, and classify both structured and unstructured data across your entire data estate. It automatically identifies stale, duplicate, and nonbusiness data (among other types of data, like Personally identifiable information [PII] that must be controlled for compliance purposes) regardless of where the data is stored. And makes that data visible through a single pane of glass so you can quickly address it.

BlueXP classification helps you reduce ROT by answering questions like:

  • How much stale data are you storing? How long has it been stale? Where does it reside? This insight can help you set new or review existing retention policies for stale data. It can also help you decide whether to delete data or tier it to the cloud or other lower-priced storage.
  • How much nonbusiness-related data are you storing? Where does it reside? What type of data is it? This insight can help you check your data management policies, create new ones, and/or delete unauthorized files.
  • How much of your data is duplicate, and where are all the copies? This insight can help you immediately delete duplicate copies to save costs.

​You can put this insight into action right from the BlueXP classification dashboard, where you can move, copy, delete, assign, tag, and label data appropriately, or set policies to automate certain processes.

Controlling more than ROT

Of course, controlling ROT is only one of several challenges you face as your data proliferates. Keeping your data secure and compliant is essential, and failure to do so can have even bigger financial consequences.

In addition to identifying savings opportunities, BlueXP classification excels at helping you discover and protect personal and sensitive data. This helps you meet your cybersecurity and regulatory compliance requirements with capabilities like:

  • Finding PII across your entire storage footprint and categorizing it by sensitivity
  • Identifying who has access to data, to evaluate proper permissions and avoid data leakage
  • Generating reports such as privacy risk assessments, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) reports, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act HIPAA reports, and data subject access requests (DSARs)
  • Enabling user-defined custom insights so that you can tailor the service to your unique needs

Try BlueXP classification for free

There’s no better time than the start of a new year to tackle that cleanup work that’s so badly needed. So go ahead—make it your resolution to eliminate your ROT in 2023! And while you’re at it, please get rid of that rusty saw in your garage, too.

Try it out for yourself. Get started with a free trial of BlueXP classification for 30 days (up to 1TB).

Darnell Fatigati

Darnell Fatigati is a senior product marketing manager for NetApp’s Cloud Data Services with over 20 years of experience in technology, IT services, and telecom. Her focus is helping customers understand how to gain visibility and insight into their data so they can optimize their IT infrastructure, efficiently migrate to the cloud, maintain regulatory compliance, and enhance their cybersecurity posture.

View all Posts by Darnell Fatigati

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