Shaped by scandals and forged by legitimate demand, today's business environment dictates that organizations maintain accountability and justify executive decisions. IT departments share the responsibility with company executives to ensure corporate success and freedom from litigation and potential jail time. Key technologies that maintain and manage the critical aspects of information come in the form of information lifecycle management (ILM).

Briefly, ILM is the optimum allocation of storage resources that support a business. Every element of information in an organization has a useful lifespan. That life may be short, as a voice conversation is, or may be very long, as is required for certain legal and medical records - as long as a human lifetime. ILM is the application of rigor to the often chaotic and unstructured data stores than an organization maintains. The storage, utilization, maintenance and destruction of this data can be quite expensive over its lifetime, and what is worse, its lifetime is often much longer than its useful life. The art of ILM is to develop an understanding of an organization's information needs and to develop the infrastructure and processes required to maintain the usefulness of the information, while at the same time creating the discipline to minimize the cost of that maintenance. The choices and strategies available today for those companies that are considering an ILM implementation include the following:

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