Short for information lifecycle management, ILM is the creation and management of a storage infrastructure and the data that it maintains. All information, or data, in a storage network has a specific lifecycle, from the time the information enters an organization’s system to the time it is archived or removed from the system.
The information may have a finite lifecycle where the data are eventually removed from a storage network when the information becomes outdated or no longer needed-or an infinite lifecycle if the information remains valuable to the organization retaining it.
The Three Stages in the Information Lifecycle
In general, there are three stages in the information lifecycle:
- The creation and/or acquisition of the data. Information comes into the organization either by being created by one or more individuals or by being acquired through emails, faxes, letters, phone calls, etc.
- The publication of the data. Some information needs to be published, either in print form or on a company’s intranet or a public Web site.
- The retention and/or removal of the data. Some information must be archived for later use, and some information has a finite purpose and can be discarded once it has served its purpose or is no longer valuable to the organization.
Managing the Information Lifecycle
The management of the information lifecycle involves keeping the data accessible to the users who need the information and determining how the information is stored based on how high of a priority the information has in the organization at any given moment. At each stage in the information’s lifecycle, the management infrastructure must determine the best software, hardware and storage medium required for the information at that stage, and how those factors differ as the data move through the lifecycle.