Data management and specifically data archiving is critical to businesses in their quest to gain better control over their IT environments. 

There are two distinct ways to do this: tape archiving or cloud archiving, and the latter is gaining more prominence says Redstor, an international data management and security specialist firm.

The company defines data archiving as the process of both identifying and moving inactive data out of live systems and into specialised long-term archival storage systems.

Redstor says that with the advent of cloud solutions, this technology is beginning to serve as a dynamic form of data archiving.

Danie Marais, director of product management at Redstor, says: “Cloud-based archiving services provide a data storage environment optimized for archiving data while remaining secure and compliant with data protection laws (assuming you pick the right vendor).”

However, like all technology, there are advantages and disadvantages to any solution that is implemented, or technology approach adopted.

Redstor points out tape archiving has for many years been considered to be a cost-effective way to ensure that data is managed effectively (certainly compared to the cost of running disk), and the reality was that there was no viable alternative.

Other advantages associated with this format was that it did not have power and cooling requirements and could be kept in an office environment, this compared to other storage media gave lower costs.

As more data was written to a tape archive and more media used, the relative cost per GB decreased; tape archiving could also be written off as an investment over a period as the cost of tape drives, libraries and archive software was spread over a larger volume of data and usually for a period of long-retention.

Furthermore, tape archives were relatively easy to scale as data volumes increased. Tape (especially LTO) has continued to scale to meet those demands, LTO-7 cartridges can hold near 15TB per cartridge, assuming a 2.5:1 compression rate.


Rapid cloud cover

Redstor describes the speed at which cloud technologies are developing as astonishing and says IT professionals now widely accept and use cloud platforms and services.

The company adds that cloud solutions can provide an effortless way to centralise data management and do not require additional hardware.

“Geographical redundancy is one of the reasons organisations are beginning to favour cloud archiving solutions. Cloud archive services are able to hold multiple copies of data in diverse locations, mitigating the risk of data loss from technology failures, this reassures organisations if anything were to happen to their main site,” says Marais.

In addition to this, cloud archiving solutions have intelligence behind them that enables firms to extract value from their data.

Data is typically indexed at ingestion into cloud archive services, providing rich search capabilities; this allows firms to easily search for files and folders when they are required.

According to Redstor, when it comes to implementing archiving solutions, tape archiving is becoming less favoured.

“Cloud archiving technology eliminates the challenge of having to replace tape media on a regular basis. This is especially problematic for organisations with large data sets as it translates to a much greater cost — by implementing a cloud archiving solution the firm does not have this worry anymore as it becomes the cloud archiving providers problem,” Marais adds.

Tape archiving solutions may have to be maintained beyond end-of-life supplier support, which can significantly add to costs and the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) of an archive solution.

However, with cloud archiving solutions this problem does not exist as support tends to always be included in the cost associated with the contract.