Here is an extract from Ed Pinsent's recent White Paper, "Is your organisation using its storage wisely?" The paper may be of interest to archivists, records managers, network admins, or anyone who worries that the departmental shared drives are running out of space. Before you rush into purchasing more servers, or sign up with a cloud storage vendor, download and read our free White Paper.
Anywhere you have a shared drive in your organisation, you may have a potential “backlog” problem. The “backlog” in question is simply one of deferred decisions.
READ MORE: The meanings of the term "archive"
It can happen when staff and users store their digital content on a shared drive without a clearly defined purpose of why they are keeping it. The content may have value to the organisation as a record, or even have some long-term value as part of the archive, or something that could be deleted after a month.
This is not an IT issue. The backlog is not caused by storage, networks, applications, or file formats, but by a lack of clarity in purpose. The original creator may have known what they were doing five years ago; today it’s far from clear, even to the creator. Other users who could share that content may be even less clear about the value. The content can easily accrue, at random, over time.
The “backlog” is thus caused by keeping and storing non-current materials on the shared drives, some of which should have been managed / transferred offsite / preserved or deleted a long time ago. While it could be defined as a bottleneck in your records management or archiving policy, those are only two possible solutions.
Not everything is a “record”; certainly not everything warrants permanent retention; some things are kept for their business value or asset value, and some content can simply be deleted when immediate need is finished.
A few indicators that you may be having this storage backlog problem
• You are running out of space on the servers, and your network manager keeps requesting more money to buy more server rooms, more hardware, and more backups;
• Staff report known or suspected duplication of resources;
• Staff say they can’t find things; this usually means there are too many folders full of too many digital objects. Often it’s diagnosed as a “file naming” or metadata problem, but it starts with careless accumulation of files;
• Files are being kept that haven’t been accessed or used in 10+ years;
• Files are found that nobody knows anything about;
• Network traffic is increasing;
• Your organisation is generating “space hogs” - i.e. resources with large footprints, such as high-res images, video files, datasets and databases, web resources or copies of websites, disk images, and other space-hungry objects.
To learn more, and see about possible courses of action, feel free to download the White Paper using the link below.