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The Business Case for Active Archiving on Tape

by on June 9, 2011

We all know that organizations are struggling to deal with a deluge of data these days. It’s also no secret that most of this data—an estimated 60 to 90 percent of typical production catalogs—is inactive, unstructured data that’s never accessed again.

Clearly, organizations have a ways to go in determining how to manage all of this data efficiently and effectively. One thing that’s also clear so far is that organizations should be looking at active archiving as part of the solution—a solution in which tape is poised to play a leading role.

Whether you’re looking to better understand why your organization might benefit from using tape for active archiving or you’re trying to sell this concept up the food chain, the place to start is to identify the costs of storing these large volumes of inactive data in production.

These costs, which include both painfully obvious expenses and potentially hidden ones, break down into these categories, according to a report from document management solutions provider Iron Mountain:

  1. Storage Hardware
    Servers and disk arrays to accommodate data growth of 30 to 50 percent per year
  2. Storage Management Software
    Licenses for software running on each server, plus storage fees based on capacity
  3. Maintenance Fees
    Costs to maintain hardware and software. These expenses may be hidden at first since many firms pay for three years of maintenance up front. Beyond three years or if the array goes end of life, fees escalate
  4. Facilities Costs
    Real estate, power and cooling costs

The Grand Total

What often surprises firms isn’t the nickels and dimes associated with each line item above. It’s the sum of the parts. When an organization adds up all of the costs to store inactive data, they often “find the final storage tab is two to four times the acquisition costs over a three-year period,” according to the same Iron Mountain report. The scary part: that report was from a few years back, so expect to see these costs rise even further, faster in the midst of the data explosion.

The numbers speak volumes on this one. And if you’re trying to start a conversation about active archiving in your organization, simply quantifying what you’re spending to manage inactive data in production is a surefire way to get some attention on the topic.

One Comment
  1. Companies are losing primary information when they leave their data untouched, even the oldest ones. The data could help level the goals and strategies of businesses, which can potentially change the direction of a company.

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