Do you archive your historical vibration data or keep it around forever?  If your Condition Monitoring department does not have a plan to deal with database management, then it is critical that you develop one.

Usually, the vibration data has lost any historical value after a couple of years, and keeping this data stored in your vibration database is of limited or no value.  Data collected on critical equipment or certain machines may have interesting analytical value and be worth keeping long term.  You should decide what data must be stored and for how long.  You may find that you have a lot of historical data in your vibration database that is no longer of value.

This data should be moved into another database for long-term storage or completely deleted.

Unwanted vibration data will increase the size of your database(s).  This unwanted data can decrease the performance of your vibration software, increase the risk of database corruption issues and cause the loss of the data that you actually do wish to keep long term.  Storage of huge amounts of historical data may make your vibration database become unreliable.  Some IT departments will charge your department based on the amount of storage space your database(s) consume.  Therefore, the storage of extra data could be costing your department additional money monthly and yearly.

Most vibration programs have a means to delete data based upon historical criteria (date ranges) and filter types (equipment types, etc).  You may determine that you wish to keep this data archived, but not stored in your primary database file(s).  Your vibration software should have the ability to transfer this data to another database.  This will allow you to keep the data stored in another location, but remove it from your primary database file(s).

The choice is yours, but you should beware of the positives and negatives of allowing your vibration data to increase year after year.  You should devise a plan on what works best for your facility and vibration department and execute this plan on a routine basis (yearly, etc).  Some vibration departments will use a specific holiday (New Year, for instance) to remind them that it is time to do database management.

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, by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL