Some of you may remember the big buzz around Information Life-cycle Management or ILM. EMC pushed the concept of ILM a few years back and many of their competitors followed them down this winding road. You know that marketing campaigns are working when customers talk about ILM strategies using some of the same language as their vendors. I witnessed this fairly extensively with ILM but the reality never matched the rhetoric.
On some measure ILM has been successful. A number of customers went to a multi-tier storage environment. Some never moved data but actually became smarter about where they placed it to begin with. Others would actually move data at either the volume level or if they were using file systems – at the file or file system level. During this time a number of technologies and vendors came and went and when the dust settled there was modest levels of ILM but nowhere near the promise of the hype.
The term ILM is rarely used these days and it is not going to open any doors for you. However, just because we never reached the nirvana of ILM doesn’t mean that there wasn’t real value in the concept.
In my view, the goal of ILM was to move data transparently to the appropriate storage tier balancing performance, protection and cost. And the end result of implementing ILM included significant cost reductions and better utilization of your expensive IT infrastructure.
But the mega-hype around ILM actually over-complicated it and created confusion. There was and is no magic application or technology that could just make it all happen with a push of a button. However, with the combination of people, process and technology there are great strides that can be made. In fact, I know of IT professionals that have saved tons of money by implementing some form of ILM. I submit that some level of ILM – regardless of what you call it – should be a requisite part of every data center. In fact, it should be as fundamental a part of the data center as disaster recovery.