In recent months I have been struck by the explosion of high performance storage solutions - Nutanix, Pure Storage, Nimble, Simplivity, and Datrium just to name a few. These new storage solutions are pushing the performance envelope for the modern data center and virtual server hosts. What I find very interesting is the corresponding impact on actual storage expectations.
It appears that data storage solutions are falling into two distinct tiers – one FAST and the other SLOW. The primary “high-performance” tier is dominated by high performance Flash memory and Solid State Drives (SSDs). The cost of flash memory and SSDs have fallen to the point where you can store TBs of application data in memory. The days of using a high speed memory cache to improve application performance are disappearing in favor of loading the entire application, including its data, into memory.
The second “durable-storage” storage tier is dominated by high capacity SATA disk drives. High capacity 2TB, 4TB and 6TB SATA drives are available for very low cost. High capacity disk drives remain the best choice for storing secondary (and sometimes inactive) data – copies of virtual machines, backup data, database blobs, media and general purpose file data.
Cold Cloud Storage
Now with cold cloud storage platforms, there is a third choice. Many companies are now looking at moving all of their unstructured, low-touch “grey” data to the cloud, if for no other reason than cost. Amazon, Google and Microsoft Azure each offer cold cloud blob storage that is perfect for grey, low touch data at a very reasonable cost - $0.01 - $0.02 per GB per month. Compare the cost per TB of on premise enterprise storage versus cold cloud storage and you can realize savings of as much as 100X!
What is Grey Data?
Grey data refers to unstructured email, files, media and documents that belong to end users and has not been accessed/referenced in a long period of time. Examples include Office files (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint), email, legal data sets, HR and Accounting records, sales invoices, legal contracts, engineering drawings, video surveillance and more. The most prevalent type of grey data includes that data left in the various storage systems from departed employees.
Grey data is valuable to your organization and should be preserved for later use. For example employees and managers regularly need to search for old files to manage customer accounts, search for eDiscovery and compliance needs, and manage old products and services.
Benefits of Cold Cloud Storage
Besides being a safe and low cost solution for storing grey data, the cloud has additional benefits you should consider including:
- By removing grey data from on premise storage repositories, you can de-commission legacy enterprise storage systems saving valuable budget dollars.
- Every time you remove grey data, you reduce the load on your on premise backup server; thereby, improving backup performance and reducing backup cost.
- By centralizing grey data in the cloud, data is more easily accessible for legal and regulatory discovery.
- Cloud business intelligence and search services can be leveraged at a very low price allowing you to eliminate the cost of expensive on premises business intelligence applications.
- Grey data in the cloud can be automatically managed for retention and disposition – very important functions for regulatory and legal compliance.
How Archive360 can Help
Archive2Azure is Archive360’s Compliance Storage Solution targeting long term storage and management of unstructured low touch grey data into the Microsoft Azure platform. The Archive2Azure solution leverages Microsoft Azure’s low-cost ‘cool/cold’ storage as an alternative to expensive on premise enterprise storage. Azure costs as little as $0.02 per GB per month and eliminates all the expensive overhead costs of traditional on premise storage.
Archive2Azure importantly provides automated retention, indexing on demand, encryption, search, review, and production – all important components of a low cost, searchable storage solution. Given the clear cost advantages of the Microsoft Azure cloud, it’s no surprise many companies are looking to Microsoft Azure and Archive2Azure for grey data management and storage.