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Cold Data Might Be Doubling Your Unstructured Data Costs

by Andy Ferris – October 14, 2019

The Practical Barriers to Archive

Are your IT administrators and data owners in constant conflict over what data is active, and what data can be archived? Good news: you’re not alone.

For decades, IT has been asking data owners to designate what can be moved off primary storage and onto cheaper archive tiers. However, most data owners have been burned in the past by painful retrieval processes, and they fear losing access to their data. As a result, data owners end up holding on to “cold” data long after its useful life, increasing primary storage and backup costs.

The solution is twofold: make archive retrievals quick and painless, and give IT admins visibility into what data is actually in use. Why is this process even worth the hassle? Because the cost of doing nothing could be doubling your unstructured data costs over what is necessary, representing millions of dollars to an organization.

The Real Cost of Keeping Cold Data on Primary Storage

Many organizations simply don’t consider the true cost of keeping cold data on their primary tier. The reality is that every terabyte removed from primary (plus the associated backups), generates significant savings by delaying the cost of expanding primary and secondary storage, software, and the operational costs required to manage, power, cool, and house any new capacity. 

Imagine a scenario where a company is starting a project that will require 500 terabytes of primary capacity. If that company doesn’t have 500 terabytes of available space, they will either need to add new capacity, or free up space on existing capacity. To add 500 terabytes of storage to the primary tier, connect it to the network, protect it, power it, cool it, and house it in the datacenter can easily cost more than $1M over the next five years.

Our research found that same organization could instead archive 500 terabytes of cold data from their existing primary storage tier to a low-cost archive tier at a cost of $400K or less over those same five years, gaining the same amount of unused primary storage and saving $600K or more – that’s $120K per year, or $10K per month.

Even an organization with more modest size could achieve seven-figure savings--and cut their total spend on unstructured data management by over 50%. These significant cost savings could be reallocated to replace aging primary NAS capacity with high-performance all-flash storage, or to accomplish other high-value IT projects that otherwise couldn’t be funded.

Ready to see how we calculated these numbers based on extensive market research with real customers from your industry?

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