Building a Terminology Bridge for Digital Information Retention and Preservation


The datacenter's information stakeholders need to communicate with each other about business requirements for information assets the organization has to manage. This can be hard because each department has a different vernacular that has to be bridged to even begin a discussion.

If your organization is operating an information governance-style committee or developing service management practices and need to develop business requirements for information assets then you need to have a common terminology and understanding of retention and preservation practices among all stakeholders

If your organization needs to better understand retention and preservation principles and have a common terminology that spans internal and external needs you need this report.

If your organization is dealing with eDiscovery, litigation holds, reducing risk and exposure, trying to classify information, regulatory compliance, and/or long-term preservation, you need a tool to guide practices and help develop a common understanding of their roles in the datacenter

The document defines terminology and articulates the best practices for retention and preservation of digital information in large and scalable datacenter environments, using ILM-based practices. This paper provides the SNIA’s definition in the context of “long-term digital information retention and preservation” along with the definitions from other reference sources for comparison.



Building An Information Management Service

A four hour workshop focusing on information governance, service level objectives, and creating a storage service catalog.

Collaboration - Creating the Information-Cenric Enterprise

A full day tutorial on building an information management team from business managers, records management, IT, security, and other stakeholders. This workshop was presented at ARMA's annual conference in 2008.

The Information Lifecycle Management Maturity Model


The Data Management Forum’s Information Lifecycle Management Initiative (ILMI) and the SNIA End User Council (EUC) began a joint effort in early 2008 to develop an Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) Maturity Model. The work was patterned after the Capability Maturity Model Integration1 (CMMI) from the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. The ILM Maturity Model provides a standardized tool for consistent point-in-time assessment of the maturity of ILM capabilities within an organization. There were three objectives for this work effort:

  • Provide a standardized tool that would assist organizations determine where they stand relative to best practices in managing their information.
  • Help organizations improve their ILM practices to balance their information technology service levels and therefore lower costs.
  • Help organizations to set priorities on IT investments, by aligning their costs with the changing value of their information over time.

  Information Lifecycle Management is not a product conveniently packaged and delivered in a box. Consider ILM as an ongoing process and as a service management strategy. The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) defines ILM as: “The policies, processes, practices, services and tools used to align the business value of information with the most appropriate and cost-effective infrastructure from the time information is created through its final disposition. Information is aligned with business requirements through management policies and service levels associated with applications, metadata and data.” Notice that the SNIA definition of ILM does not mention the word “storage.” Information is the asset to be conserved and protected; storage represents one of the resources that enables ILM, but it is by no means the only resource that is important to the efficient management of information over time.

Another common question is how ILM relates to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is an internationally recognized set of best practices that focus on service management.
ILM extends and refines ITIL concepts regarding information management. SNIA strongly recommends that an ILM project begin with a service management strategy based on ITIL, the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT), or any one of several other service management frameworks. All of these frameworks begin with an assessment of the business process which is a fundamental step in the information management process. This is where the ILM Maturity Model can help.

Conferences and Presentations

  • Storage Networking World
    • Building a Storage Service Catalog
    • 45 Days in 45 Minutes - An Information Classification Drama
    • The Secret Sauce of ILM
    • The ROI of ILM
    • Getting the Most Out of ILM
    • Case Study - Using ILM to Leverage Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery at the Acme Anvil
  • International Storage Systems Symposium
    • A Comparison of Mirroring Technogies
    • Anatomy of an SRM
    • What is Policy-Based Storage Management
    • Information Classification and Service Level Objectives for Information Lifecycle Management
  • Digital Archive Preservation and Sustainability
    • SNIA's Self Contained Information Retention Format
  • National Science Foundation Expedition Workshop
    • The Technological Challenges of Information Lifecycle Management
  • ...and many others