The data archiving market has gotten far more interesting in recent years. A combination of factors are driving the archiving space into a higher priority category within the enterprise.
Data Archiving Market Drivers
There are several factors influencing the data archiving marketplace that help to drive growth.
“There is a continued and growing realization that archiving has a very large opportunity and business benefit beyond its perceived role for compliance and related uses,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO Group. “Active archives, and air-gapped archives are a key part of reducing your data footprint impact, enabling more data to be stored and with better protection against ransomware and other threats to enable cyber resiliency.
“If there is an aspirin for most IT data storage management and data protection scenarios, it’s called archiving life beyond compliance.”
As noted by Schulz, data security has become a priority in an era of escalating cybercrime and swelling data repositories. With businesses relying heavily on data collection, usage, distribution, and monetization, securing that data is crucial to protecting business objectives.
Data Archiving Features and Benefits
Archive solutions are increasingly harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) to classify massive amounts of data and automatically move it according to user-defined policy. From expensive storage tiers to economy tiers, archived data stays highly accessible and secure.
“Companies recognize the increasing value of data and the need to store ever-increasing volumes for longer periods of time cost-effectively,” said Rich Gadomski, head of tape evangelism for FUJIFILM Recording Media USA, Inc. and co-chairperson of the Active Archive Alliance. “AI-based analytics automates file placement across multiple tiers and storage types including flash, hard disk, tape, and the cloud.”
Data stays immediately accessible for file sharing as well as business and research analytics to support competitive advantage. Thus, intelligent data tiering and automation have major roles in managing unstructured data at petabyte scale. Within a few years, unstructured data stores will expand into the exabyte range. Archives that can house this amount of data, therefore, are becoming increasingly valuable.
Data Archiving Use Cases
There are many use cases for data archiving. On a simple level, an archive acts as an immutable record of data over a long period of time. This fulfills archiving compliance mandates. But beyond basic archiving, let’s look at how a couple of companies are dealing with archiving.
Healthcare data is a hot commodity on the dark web and a profitable ransomware target. In recent months, the FBI and Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned healthcare providers to better protect themselves from ransomware pirates. Many healthcare organizations are locking out cybercriminals and protecting records with active archiving since active archive solutions for healthcare are secure. They offer a HITRUST-certified cybersecurity framework, including both physical and process security controls for strong data security and compliance. This fits with healthcare data technology regulations that require protected data to be stored in a secure format that is searchable and accessible to approved users. Active archives do this and much more, including automating archived data movement by compliant policies.
Scientific, academic, and research bodies tend to store and archive a lot of data. CERN, for example, has to retain massive amounts of data from experiments using the Large Halide Collider (LHC). This particle collider measures 17 miles in circumference and is located roughly 100 meters below the France-Switzerland border.
Tape has been in use at CERN for about five decades, and the organization currently stores around 400 PB on tape. This enables CERN to keep pace with the data explosion. The IT department expects up to 180 PB of data to be added in 2022. CERN can cope with that quantity of information courtesy of a sophisticated tape-disk-SSD architecture. All results and all raw data from all CERN experiments are stored on tape and archived. When anything needs to be analyzed, it is transferred to disk and SSD.
Users such as CERN gravitate toward tape for many reasons. In terms of long-term stability, data can still be recovered from tape after 30 years, whereas hard drives struggle to retain data beyond five years. Tape reliability is higher too. CERN has dozens of hard drives failing every week (out of the tens of thousands it has on site) compared to a negligible failure rate for tape. Economics also factors in. Tape brings big savings in terms of CAPEX and OPEX. From an operating expense standpoint, tape consumes no power while tape cartridges are sitting idle, so it’s cost-effective and eco-friendly. The most cost-effective technology for large-scale, long-term storage is tape. And as it offers an air gap, to thwart online hackers, it raises the level of security.
Data archiving providers
- Spectra Logic
- Dell Technologies
- Iron Mountain
- QStar Technologies
- Western Digital