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How to Run Cold Storage Efficiently

Big data is large data sets that can be analysed to mine value – patterns and trends related to user interactions. 73% of big data is unused in businesses, but despite that very little of it is thrown away. Many organisations hold on to their big data for fears that future analytic capabilities will reveal value. Alternatively, they are fearful of litigation or new privacy laws, and thus retain thins like documents and emails that they might need to refer back to.

Unnecessarily holding all of this data is one thing. Some like to think that it’s better to keep it than not. However, challenges arise when it comes to managing this archive data. Many think that storage is so cheap that it doesn’t matter. But while that new drive or tape might indeed be cheap to purchase, storage as a whole is anything but.

The costs associated with storage are on the rise. We’re generating and collecting huge amounts of data nowadays, so the number of storage devices being held are on the rise. But not only that, more storage means more money needed for networks, processing, the employees to maintain it, and so on. It also has a knock-on effect to data and recovery, which now has to deal with more files that are larger in size.

When it comes to your cold storage, you don’t need to use the fanciest devices. This is why tape or cold hard drives are used for the purpose. However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect maintenance – it’s still important to check the storage often to ensure that everything is working. It also doesn’t mean you should demote old primary drives into backup ones. Devices have a lifespan and your backups need to be treated as equally as those main devices.

If you don’t have the space or budget to store your big data onsite or in an off-site physical premises, you can turn to the cloud. These cloud providers can benefit from economies of scale that you cannot. If proximity is important to you then cloud won’t be the best option, but otherwise there are many decent cold storage cloud providers.

You should also take time to review your data retention policies. Just because you have the means to cold store your data, it doesn’t mean that you should. Sit down with your stakeholders and understand what their data is for and how long it needs to be stored for. It’s just as important to remove unnecessary data as it is to back it up.

Finally, make use of the innovations in data storage automation. You feed the system your rules for storage and it will then automatically apply them – for example, you can tier your data so parts of it are stored on solid state drives for frequent access, while the rest is in cold storage on tapes. This then takes the guesswork and the legwork out of data access and ensures that your users still have a smooth and easy process when it comes to accessing their data.


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