ILM actually stands for Information Lifecycle Management. This is a sophisticated method for managing data hierarchically to ensure that the most data can be stored in an efficient and cost effective manner. For a fuller explanation check out techtarget.com.
The first time I came across the idea of ILM was in a presentation by >Storagetek. I have to admit that it was late in the morning and about the 3rd 40 minute presentation that I’d had to sit through. The cup of complimentary coffee had long since worn off and I was starting to go into a conference related daydream. The phrase ILM punctuated the gloom, and for some reason I immediately thought that they were referring to some 70’s rock band like ELO or Emmerson Lake and Palmer.
Very soon, it turned out I was wrong, unless these musicians had gone through a serious career change. As I sat there enthralled, I learnt how ILM could completely revolutionise my company’s storage management policies, allowing me to access the data I needed when I needed it. It made storage seem, interesting, almost sexy, quite a feat to pull off.
Storage is of course central to all organisations IT requirements, but something that we do take for granted. When we store a document, back up our email, we’re generally confident that there’ll be somewhere on the network where we can put all the data.
As more and more communication and office processes move onto a digital platform, this has meant that our IT storage requirements have grown almost exponentially. Where once you had rows and rows of dusty filling cabinets where nobody had any idea of what was in them, now we have rows and rows of storage devices where you probably have no idea of what’s actually stored in them.
I personally developed a storage management policy at a fairly young age. I put all my Amiga floppy discs in a shoe box, and occasionally tried to organise them alphabetically. For me this was pretty methodical, and I hate to say it by and large the highpoint of my organisational abilities.
As the amount of information we store continues to increase, the importance of storage management within the organisation will of course continue to grow. This will mean more and more storage related acronyms. Let’s hope that they’re catchier than ILM.