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Spring Cleaning for IT Systems

Strategically Speaking
Apr 16, 2014

Chris Sutherland Author: Chris Sutherland,


Winter has come and gone, or at least we all hope so around my house. I have three boys and we always have a sporting event going on, but this time of the year mom can also always find a spring cleaning task that needs to be completed: cleaning closets, the garage, washing windows; we can go on and on.

Your IT Department can be handled the same way.  As an installation engineer I can make a good case that cleaning of systems do not happen often enough. I have seen so many IT systems out there that have files that have not been touched for months, years, or even decades.  In a world where storage space can be a hot commodity and back-up jobs seem to get larger and take longer to complete, a good spring cleaning of the shared directories is something that IT administrators should put on their calendars as well.

So the next question is how do you determine what is safe to clean up?  The age old argument is that “if I delete it, someone will want it”.  Are there tools that can help administrators with determining the files that no one has really accessed?  In the release of Windows Server® 2008 there was a feature added to the operating system called file server role.  This role allows many things that most administrators are not taking advantage of.  With this feature enabled you have the ability to do several things that can make life simpler. For example:

  • Get reports generated to talk with management and users about what’s on the system.
  • Set policies for quota limits on folders, groups, or users.
  • Create access policies as well as policies to report on files that have not been accessed in a period of time that you as an administrator can determine.
  • Have the ability to enable de-duplication on your files servers (if you have also updated or are considering the latest Windows Server® 2012 operating system).  This is particularly great for those financial institutions that seem to have the same copy of a file in one user’s directory; a group’s shared folder and then the correct original location. We know that never happens, yea right.

These are just a few ideas for you to think about for spring cleaning your IT systems.  Have you already started some spring cleaning?  Have questions or other tips – share them!

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