How to Make Data Archiving Easier Than Expanding Primary Storage

Most IT professionals will admit that most of their data is inactive and hasn’t been accessed in years. Storage Switzerland finds that over 80% of the data in most data centers falls into this category. There are viable solutions to move inactive data from primary storage to less expensive secondary storage and the return on investment (ROI) these solutions claim is very impressive.

Despite the availability of modern archive solutions, the path of least resistance continues to be adding more capacity to primary storage, even if that means buying an additional storage system. For IT professional to embrace archiving more broadly, the process needs to overcome the concerns that IT professionals have when considering this strategy.

The goal of an archive solution is to move all inactive data to secondary storage, thereby freeing up primary storage and eliminating, or at least slowing, the need for future capacity driven upgrades. Typically, an archive solution requires software that scans primary data stores and then moves qualifying data to secondary storage. That secondary storage needs to be protected, since it eventually becomes the storage for the last copy of all data. Typically, the protection is done by replicating that data to a second system.

The problem is that IT needs to invest in the secondary storage system. To hit a price point that make secondary storage attractive the organization usually needs to invest in a system that has 50TBs or more of capacity. Even if the organization has 50TBs of inactive data, no IT professional in their right mind is going to archive 50TBs of data the day after the software is installed. They will want the software to prove itself first. More than likely they will only archive the least active of this data to test the new process, gradually enabling the archive software to take a more aggressive approach to archiving data. The gradual approach means that the 50TB investment may sit mostly unused for months if not years.

Even if IT was 100% confident in the software on the first day, there is no compelling reason to archive aggressively. The reality is that the primary storage is bought and paid for. It isn’t until the organization needs to free up capacity that a more aggressive archive approach makes sense. The archive solution should be sold with a very small starting point and enable the customer to add additional storage in small increments. With a start small, grow gradually approach, the organization can implement the archive solution very inexpensively and then expand the capacity of the archive as opposed to buying more expensive primary storage. The ROI is now immediate.

Cloud Storage presents and interesting option when designing an archive solution to fit the start small, grow gradually approach. It by design is a pay as you grow service. Leveraging cloud storage also enables the organization to implement archive without consuming additional data center footprint and not having to worry about the DR copy. The solution can leverage cloud multi-site availability to make sure that data is durable.

To learn more about using cloud storage to address archiving and other data management challenges watch our on demand webinar “Complete Your Cloud Transformation – Store Your Data in The Cloud.” Attendees to the webinar receive Storage Switzerland’s exclusive eBook “Understanding the Difference Between Data Protection and Data Management.” Watch now and download your copy directly from the webinar’s attachments.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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