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Data cholesterol is a slang term that refers to the slowing effect that huge amounts of improperly managed information can have on an organization's IT infrastructure. Large amounts of data can slow applications, make it difficult to find relevant information and generally impede an organization. Data cholesterol has many causes, including increased regulatory requirements that require more information to be stored for longer amounts of time, and a general increase in data gathering and analytical techniques.
Data cholesterol draws inspiration from the everyday cholesterol that blocks arteries and puts strain on an individual’s heart. Data cholesterol, therefore, puts strain on the organization’s networks and IT infrastructure. In practice, data cholesterol is most often employed as a marketing buzzword. Enterprise data management and other data management systems are usually promoted as solutions to organizational data cholesterol.