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How does information lifecycle management relate to disaster recovery?

Independent disaster recovery expert Paul Kirvan discusses information lifecycle management (ILM) in this Expert Answer.

What is information lifecycle management and how does it relate to DR?

Information lifecycle management (ILM) is a framework for managing information on data storage devices. It includes policies, processes, practices and technology that address information from its creation to its distribution, use and final disposition, e.g., archiving or destruction.

ILM comprises five activities or phases: 1) creation and receipt (e.g., the point of creation of information or receipt of information from an outside source), 2) distribution (e.g., getting the information to the recipient), 3) use (what happens to the information after it is distributed), 4) maintenance (e.g., managing the filing, storage and retrieval of information) and 5) disposition (what happens to information that is less frequently used or has exceeded its retention period).

From a disaster recovery perspective, backup (storage) and recovery (retrieval) of information is handled in the ILM maintenance phase. Deduplication of information also occurs in this phase. It is an important component of disaster recovery because dedupe technology reduces the amount of backup data that needs to be stored on disk. Another DR consideration is archiving information. This also helps reduce the amount of information that needs to be backed up by taking it out of the backup data set. Today, many shops have moved away from tape for backup but continue to use it for archiving.

Ideally, backed up -- especially replicated or mirrored -- information should be considered necessary for business operations, and as such must be protected. Archived information may also be important, but it may be stored in a more long-term storage arrangement, such as with firms like Iron Mountain.

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