Comms-care Blog

Today’s data storage issues don’t need modern solutions

by Darren Briscoe

April 14, 2014

How do you manage data? This is a question that businesses expect their IT administrators to answer - taking into account security, accessibility and cost. However, the way data is produced and the need to keep it safe has grown exponentially, with the advent of mobile devices and applications. Consequently, storage has become a complex challenge that can be difficult for IT departments to support.

Data is not just about the information stored on your laptop through word files and spread sheets. It’s about tablets, mobile phones and Internet usage.

Think of the number of applications that are downloaded onto a mobile phone. Each app is accessing data from the backend system of some kind of storage service.  Even the Google searches performed each day leave a data trail that must be captured and stored. This is an issue affecting businesses as well telecoms providers and broadband companies.

Combined, these data producing activities have created major storage requirements. Add to the mix the hype surrounding BYOD and suddenly IT services feels like a problem that needs to be outsourced.

The biggest issue is cost. Modern types of storage servers can be expensive. They are also not completely secure, since data that isn’t managed in a virtual environment is often stored somewhere that is unknown to the company and not always backed up. Furthermore, it can be lost if office devices are damaged or stolen.

Furthermore, businesses have to capture who sends what to whom and when. Emails, text messages, files shared via Dropbox … the list goes on. Companies are also realising that they can’t throw away data when there’s no space left on the SSD either. Worse still, modern storage technologies expire over time. In twenty years, data put on disks will disappear when disks become obsolete.

The power requirements to keep the disks safe are huge as well. Imagine the environmental cost of running a data storage warehouse? The need to keep servers cool adds up to a fortune - both for the planet and the check book.

Faced with these challenges, back end storage has become a big issue for companies and organisations. It’s also placing the spotlight on the importance of placing data on tape.

This type of storage is old fashioned but it’s very convenient and cheap, and most importantly, it lasts forever. Just look at BBC archives - they’ve got tapes that are over 100 years old.

No other storage technology is as accessible and cheap. No wonder tape has become a massively growing market recently.

This probably comes as a surprise to many organisations. After all, nobody really talks about tape. The popular misconception is that disks dominate the data storage sector and has replaced the need for any other type of storage device. In fact, the opposite is true. Tape is great for managing and supporting large quantities of stored data. Once something is on tape, it will always be there. Tape's role in big data, cloud, and IT operations is growing rapidly.

In fact, many organisations are already using tape as part of their storage infrastructure for big data. Before long, everyone will be at it. In this case, addressing modern technology with an old one seems like a true match made in heaven – without costing the earth.