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The average data center grows 40 to 60 percent per year, so periodic migrations are a fact of life. However, most data migrations are polluted with unnecessary data. This increases the complexity and cost of the migration while also wasting the opportunity to start over with a storage system that is more efficient.

Approximately 30 to 50 percent of all of the data stored at a typical data center is worthless. It's easy to amass this much data. For instance, an organization that loses one in 20 employees per year and replaces them will end up with roughly 50 percent of their data storage being consumed by data from former employees after just 10 years. At the same time, old versions of files, obsolete indexes and other data consume space.

There are ways that companies can filter data to ensure that they don't migrate unnecessary information. Tying files to the Active Directory lets the company flag files that come from terminated employees. Deeper data profiling tools use meta data like access date, creation date and ownership information to identify important data that needs to be retained.

Files that get flagged as being unnecessary for migration can then be handled strategically. When appropriate, they can be archived for future access separately from the main data center. Given their reduced importance, lower cost storage options may be appropriate for them. Files that are truly unimportant can be deleted once and for all.

Streamlining data can also reap benefits for businesses. In addition to abandoned and obsolete data, many data centers waste capacity on duplicate data. It's not uncommon for a typical server to have 24 percent of its capacity consumed by duplicate files, and another 6 percent used for personal files that have no business in a workplace -- like personal music libraries. An managed migration also addresses these issues.