Are You a Data Hoarder?


by Joseph Brady, Marketing and Documentation Manager for Treehouse Software

I moved recently. I’ve heard it said that moving is one of life’s most stressful experiences…right up there with death. I would have to agree.

At some point during the process of evaluating every item I owned to determine whether to keep, toss or donate, it occurred to me that I could be the next star of The Hoarders reality show. It hit me especially hard when we unearthed the boxes that were tucked away under the staircase storage space that contained documents (or other essentials like my son’s artwork from kindergarten) that I hadn’t unpacked — let alone touched — since my last move over seven years ago. Over the years, I had accumulated a houseful of stuff — all of which at some point in time had been essential.

It took weeks to accomplish packing it all. Each item that I was going to move to the new place had to be carefully wrapped, boxed, and labeled, minimizing any breakage or losses and the amount of time the movers would have to spend on the other side. Not only would this potentially save us hundreds of dollars, but would expedite the unpacking and ensure my stuff in the new digs would be well organized and clutter-free. Looking back, this was time well spent.

So what does this have to do with your data?

Just as stuff inside a home can be hoarded, so can data! One of the long-running complaints about corporate IT is how data gets “siloed”, which constrains organizations in acting across internal boundaries. Enterprises generate huge amounts of structured and unstructured data stored in various data repositories across the organization and in production systems. There are many reasons behind data hoarding, but if you have a data archiving strategy, you can ensure that inactive data — especially that which may be inside legacy systems applications  — is stored, managed, secured or destroyed and that the data you keep can be accessed for any reason at any time.

For the purposes of this article, let’s talk about inactive data that is rarely or lightly used (or may not be used at all except on occasion when someone needs to look something up). While there may be myriad methods to access this data, including writing customized SQL queries, these may vary greatly in quality and sharability and you may need training to support them. Maintaining a mixed bag of individually knocked out SQL queries may prove to be a headache. What is needed is an agile, simple solution.

Introducing DataNovata.

DataNovata is a Rapid Application Development tool that instantly generates a secure, read-only, web-based application to query and navigate any database in any conceivable way. Simple focused and cost-effective tool, DataNovata is a perfect way to get a standard architecture in place as applications are being retired or decommissioned while the data still needs to be available for various purposes—regulatory/statutory, audit, historical analysis, etc.

The feature-rich, web-enabled applications generated by DataNovata are suitable for end users and give them powerful data interrogation facilities to facilitate finding the information they need quickly—with minimal training and technical expertise required. Organizations are realizing enormous cost savings by leveraging the power of DataNovata.

DataNovata is used for a variety of purposes such as:

  • Application Retirement: DataNovata can replace the enquiry facilities of an application should it need to be decommissioned or retired, e.g. superfluous to requirements, no longer supported, expensive to run, obsolete platform.
  • Archived Data Management: DataNovata can provide instant access to all your archived data, reducing the costs of supporting old and expensive platforms.
  • Enhance Access to Mainframe Data: Using the complementary product tcACCESS, DataNovata can be used to give access to data held in a variety of mainframe data sources including DB2, IMS/DB, CA-IDMS, CA-Datacom, VSAM and ADABAS.
  • Satisfy Legal Requirements: DataNovata can satisfy statutory legal requirements with regard to data retention and provide an automated deletion process for purging end-of-life data.
  • Platform and Application Rationalization: DataNovata can assist in streamlining your IT infrastructure.
  • Applications Portfolio Management: DataNovata provides a solution to the application redundancy and upgrade issues created by mergers and acquisitions, eliminating the associated licensing, maintenance and hardware costs.
  • Information Lifecycle Management: DataNovata can be central to your Information Lifecycle Management policy, responding to requests, retrieving data, providing access to authorized users and handling infrequently accessed information.
  • Forensic Analysis: DataNovata can become a powerful forensic tool for the detection of fraud, as the generated application follows the relationships within the data not necessarily used by the original application.
  • Analytical Databases: DataNovata provides the perfect user interface for analytical databases containing petabytes of data, even where there are no relationships defined in the database.
  • Application Renovation: DataNovata can renovate the user interface of an aging application with a modern, intuitive and feature-rich front-end, leaving any off-line processing unaffected.
  • Testing Facility: DataNovata can be an invaluable testing facility for application development or maintenance, where an independent but structured view of the data would be useful for verifying database operations.

Because of its universal use, DataNovata does not sit in any specific vertical market niche. However, its ability to provide users access to legacy data makes it well-suited for use by the financial, pensions, banking and insurance industries.

Now, if there were only something as easy as DataNovata that would help me unpack those last miscellaneous boxes, I could have my housewarming party.