Data archiving is mandated in many industries. In healthcare, the requirement for data retention might be as much as 50 years in some countries. But in other industries and verticals, the requirements might only be for five or 10 years. Still, that’s a lot of data to have to house for a long period. Understandably, cost becomes a big factor. How do businesses retain that data in a format they can attest is unchanged and do so economically?
Here are the top trends in data archiving:
5 Data Archiving Trends
1. Rapid Retrieval or Archiving Data
Active archives enable reliable, online, and cost-effective access to data throughout its life and are compatible with flash, disk, tape, or cloud as well as file, block, or object storage systems. They help move data to the appropriate storage tiers to minimize cost while maintaining ease of user accessibility.
“With the growing need to better reuse data assets, long-gone is the time of stale archives where data is stored for long retention times and can take days to restore, generating costs more than value,” said Christophe Bertrand, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “Active archiving solutions have become a key set of technologies that organizations should consider because time is money.
“64% of organizations using active archive technology report that these solutions have significantly improved data retrieval times.”
2. More DR Investment
Cassius Rhue, Vice President of Customer Experience at SIOS Technology, noted a trend of more investment in disaster recovery (DR).
“Climate change and social unrest have moved the need for disaster recovery to the forefront of IT focus,” he said. “DR planning is no longer factoring in the rare once in 100 years storm or once in a lifetime earthquake—disasters have become an increasingly common threat to business operations.
“Companies will spend more on DR in 2022 and look for more flexible deployment options for DR protection, such as replicating on-premises workloads to the cloud for DR or multi-node failover clustering across cloud availability zones and regions.”
Such investment will be combined with archiving requirements. As organizations seek to archive, DR considerations will be included in RFPs and vice versa.
3. High Availability Protection for Storage and Archiving Will Become Standard
Previously, organizations often didn’t bother with an archive. They just kept some backup tapes and hoped they would serve.
“Simple backup of data storage is no longer sufficient,” said Rhue. “Regardless of whether the storage is NFS, SAN, cloud-native shared storage, or replicated local storage, companies will increase protection levels for their data storage and archiving—both on-premises and in the cloud—to include high availability and disaster protection.”
4. Archive Automation
In 2022, a key trend in data archiving is that IT professionals will increasingly focus on solutions that enable them to automatically archive unstructured data with policy-based guidelines into secure, hardened archives. But this requires a change in the way business is done. Most companies are comfortable with VPNs. However, their weaknesses have been exposed over the past two years with so many employees working from home.
“Organizations will want to further protect their data, but keep it easily accessible to their users, without the hassles or inherent vulnerabilities of VPNs,” said Surya Varanasi, CTO at StorCentric. “During the pandemic, VPNs demonstrated that they open significantly more data security vulnerability doors than they close.”
5. Blurred Lines Between Archiving and Tiering
Steve Pruchniewski, director of product marketing at Komprise, noted that the lines between data archiving and storage tiering have become blurred in recent times. In the past, archiving meant data being moved to an offline archive, such as tape. In many cases, it took days or at least a good number of hours before the data was live again. Storage tiering, on the other hand, meant blocks of data moved across layers of a single vendor’s storage but at the same time, this data was readily accessible.
Now, however, archiving has come to mean moving data to a cheaper environment like object storage, which can be accessed without being offline, and so it is live tiering across storage vendors. Similarly, the latest active archive systems enable rapid restoration of archived data. Not as fast as from disk-based systems, but still very fast compared to the old days of putting in a request to Iron Mountain and getting the tape back the next day.
Some are investing in active archive systems, while others are migrating off tape.
“Customers that had implemented Hierarchical Storage Management systems with tape as tier are looking to migrate off these systems and more options exist to make the move from tape possible,” said Pruchniewski. “AWS just released tape migration support to Snowball.
“Storage-agnostic unstructured data management solutions help automate the management of transfers via multiple Snowball devices. We expect to see customers take advantage of this capability to migrate off tape to low-cost archive object tiers.”