What Zombies and Hallow’s Eve Have in Common with Records Management

by Ken Lownie
VP, Customer Success

Halloween is here, and everyone is getting ready to spook and scare. But while it may be a fun time for kids – even the grown up ones – IT and records managers shiver in fright as they are reminded once again that they (and their budgets) are under constant assault by Zombies.

Zombies?!  Yes, zombies are hiding within your business applications and feasting on your operating expenses. Chills, I know. Let me explain.

Zombie are Living in Your Business Applications

Yes, there are zombies in your production applications. They exist in the form of records that are no longer active but are kept for business and regulatory reasons. Think about all the information you capture, generate and store, structured and unstructured – documents, transactions, video and voice files, email — the list goes on.

At one point it was living data used for a variety of purposes. But now it’s no longer needed for day-to-day business. But this content doesn’t actually die – you can’t get just rid of it because there are laws about such things,  so it just sits there in your production system, inactive but eating space and budgets.

These zombie records are not alive, not quite dead, hanging around wreaking havoc on your IT infrastructure. They fill up your databases, slowing down backups and upgrades, requiring time consuming re-indexing. Over time, these zombie records cause performance degradation and drive the need for more and bigger hardware, expanded licenses and more maintenance and support.

Zombie records don’t just tie up your infrastructure and affect performance. When you leave records no longer used in the production systems that create them, you force yourself to continually use those systems even if you would prefer to replace them with better, faster, more modern alternatives.

Too much of IT’s time is often spent maintaining legacy applications, not because it’s the right choice, but because you can’t get rid of the old records stored within them. We’re typically talking about hundreds of thousands –- often million — of records. Zombie records.

Zombies Feast on Your Operating Expenses

The thing about zombies is they like to hide away in dark rooms until the time is right to come out and feast. What do they eat? Well in the movies, they like people — brains in particular. But in this case, they eat away at your operating expenses.

Storing zombie records in production systems increases the work required to maintain these systems. It requires more processing power – bigger servers and more storage to handle bigger databases, and more resources to manage them.

And what about those legacy systems you no longer use? You still need to keep them alive and set budget and resources aside to support them because you continue to store your zombie records in them. It’s like creating a zombie application for your zombie records to live in!

In the end, IT ends up spending more money supporting existing infrastructures and legacy solutions and less time investing in new systems that help drive innovation and digital transformation.

Who You Gonna Call? It Ain’t Ghostbusters!

No, Ghostbusters won’t help rid you of zombies. But there is something that will – application archiving.  Application archiving is the process of offloading inactive content – content that you need to retain but is not being used – from production applications.  Today’s application archiving tools can connect to your application environment, remove inactive records, and store and manage them elsewhere, at lower cost where they will be searchable, retrievable and managed with appropriate records management capabilities such as retention management and litigation hold.

Application archiving is about collecting zombies, those inactive records that are feeding on system performance and operating expense budgets.  Gather them up and send them off to an application archiving solution for long-term storage and management.

The right application archiving solution ensures your zombie records are well-maintained, making them easily searchable and reproducible if they are needed at some point in the future.  And managed according to retention schedules, so that when the right time comes, yes, you can actually kill the zombies.

Application archiving is kind of like the Ghostbuster storage facility – just more organized, less smelly and much more safe And this kind of storage facility is about so much more than storing records; it’s about managing them, including planned retention data, accessibility for all those who should have access and the ability to view them without needing the original production system that created them.

For those of you dealing with a merger or acquisition, an application archiving solution allows you to archive records in a third party location and deal only with the integration of active records. This is a savings in both time and costs and makes the integration project so much easier.

A application archiving solution also enables IT to decommission legacy systems in a much more efficient way. Maybe you want to retire your SAP ERP or Oracle HR systems, opting for a newer cloud-based alternative, like Workday. An application archiving solution can take on the thousands or more inactive records you no longer use and let you focus on migrating only the active ones into the cloud. You can decommission SAP or Oracle, reducing licensing, server and storage costs immediately, shifting budgets and resources to other important production activities.

Stop Wasting Money on Zombie Records

We like Halloween because it only happens once a year. So on Halloween it’s okay to see zombies, vampires, and other scary things – we know they’ll be gone the next day. But IT’s zombie problem is a continuous assault.

IT has to ensure the legacy systems that store these records are performing according to service level agreements, and that can mean increased costs for hardware and network resources, as well as IT resources to maintain them. IT can maintain legacy systems long after they are used just to keep zombie records accessible.

An application archiving solution can help. It can take zombie records out of production systems and place them in a location where they aren’t just stored; they are managed according to business and regulatory requirements.

So I just have to ask you: Aren’t you getting tired of the zombies lurking in the dark corners of your production systems?

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