A quick walk of the Exhibit Hall at ARMA showed how much computers,  
software and IT has insinuated itself into the world of records  
management.  I enjoy watching things that cause the world to split  
off and go their own way and things that bring them hurtling back  
together. Imagine two swallows spinning in flight in a gian spiral  
and you have the image.

IT is always too quick to embrace any new technology and seldom do  
they look at long term ramifications.  We watched as they increased  
the speed of the computer and the density of the storage.  Computer  
tapes drew dramatically in size.  Losing or destroying one tape was a  
disaster.  900 GB gone in a blink.  Edge trim to edge trim coding.   
How stupid is that?

Employing not ready for prime time technologies in prime time.  (RFID  
being the latest.)

How about the Virtual Tape??  Not enough volume for you then how  
about the Virtual Server, old hat, there is a Virtual Data Center on  
the way.

Does the Fairy Tale about The King with clothes that are invisible  
spring to mind??

How about making a server (Blade Server) that runs so fast it is  
almost on the verge of self destruction due to the heat it creates.

Suppose your company decides to build a data center in your existing  
office building?  Can't do it, most likely because the volume power  
required is more than your whole building can supply.  That is a lot  
of power.  In fact power is about 60%+ of the ongoing cost of the  
whole data center. Site, Equipment, Phone lines, staff, Air  
Conditioning equipment, generators and Power.  Look at that list.   
Did you think power was 60% of the total?

So now back to our swallows in flight, spiraling towards each other  

IT: "Hey Records Manager, we don't need paper or even retention  
schedules, we have so much capacity that we can keep everything  
RM: That is not too smart as too much information is often more  
dangerous than too little in a Court of Law. Plus if we go into  
litigation you will no longer be able to delete anything.  Imagine  
backing up everything everyday and being unable to delete anything.
IT:  I will just build two data centers and mirror.  Why not  
equipment costs are down.

Now into our quiet meadow flies the Falcon (known to some as CFO.

CFO: Wow the cost of power is incredible and I have the Board after  
me for cost cutting. Plus the volume of servers has increased so much  
that you are now using something called virtual servers.  And if my  
data center is virtual , why can't I just have virtual power and  
staffing bills.

IT: Well uh..........

CFO: Plus the trend is to go green, In a study commissioned by AMD  
they say data centers are using 1.5% of all the world power and will  
by 2010 be over 2% of total power consumption. That is 10,000  
additional megawatts. That is equivalent to 150 million people  
growing to 200 million by 2010. Aren't we being irresponsible?
{Source: Dr Jonathan Koomey of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory}

IT: Well uh.....................

CFO:  I had a meeting with legal yesterday and they ask for our data  
mapping of the records required for their upcoming litigation of our  
trial and when I told them "No sweat! We have Virtual Records."  When  
they asked me where they were I said "On our Virtual Server."  "Do  
you want to know what they said then?"  Yeah, they said "Let your  
Virtual Attorneys defend you on this one!"

IT: Well uh........................

CFO: What happened to our sane records management program? What do  
you have to say sane records manager?

RM: [Swirling down from our lofty perch]  Here is your part in the  
play: " Fill in the blank?  What would you say?  What will you say?"

If you know what you would say then, it might be wise to go to  
management now and get a jump on this problem.

I see this little theatre quite regularly.  We have been building  
server-vaults for some time now.  In the past it was security that  
was the issue. All of a sudden Disk to Disk made things so cheap on  
the equipment side that "dual" data centers started happening.

But the power issue is rapidly become a big problem. Power prices are  
skyrocketing.  Meeting demand is going to be a problem. So now we see  
clients wanting to limit to one data center but protect it.  That  
trend to vaults is not the issue as much as the fact that IT has  
rushed into a technology that no one knows for sure is solid. Based  
on the past, who believes it will be?

Imagine explaining Virtual Tapes, Virtual Servers and Virtual Data  
Centers to a jury of our peers (???)  Now imagine doing it naked?  
Wait, this is not our problem, let the IT guy stand there naked!   
(Sotto voce: "Wow is he pale.  I don't think he works out!")

Feel free to send this reality play on to the CFO.  (Imagine this  
character in a three piece blue suit holding an iPhone.)

Hugh Smith
FIRELOCK Fireproof Modular Vaults
[log in to unmask]
(610)  756-4440    Fax (610)  756-4134

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