Digital and machine-generated content is driving extreme data growth. A recent Microsoft survey of 282 US IT decision-makers found that 32% expect the amount of data they store to double over the next two to three years. Ominously, 49% of the respondents already identify managing data growth as “extremely challenging.”

This rapid data growth is driving demand for data archiving—strategies that support moving data from primary storage to lower cost storage platforms. A data archiving strategy is particularly relevant for data and electronic documents that must be securely retained and accessible for recordkeeping and compliance but may not be accessed regularly, or even at all. This frees higher tier platforms for more frequently accessed content. While archiving was once considered complicated and time-consuming, emerging IT trends are elevating its strategic importance. A few of these trends include:

1. Big Data, Virtualization and the Cloud
Many organizations address rising storage demand simply by buying more primary storage capacity. Now, facing extreme data growth and the emergence of Big Data applications, those organizations won’t be able to afford this approach. Further, virtual server environments place new demands on storage, so as organizations move to virtual environments or the cloud, there will be an increased demand for high-speed, high-performance storage. 

2. The Corporate Cloud
The number of people accessing the internet using PCs will shrink by 15 million as the number of mobile users increases to 91 million by 2015, and mobile users will ultimately outnumber PC users, according to a recent IDC report. Users leaning on mobile technology aren’t saving data to powerful desktop systems. Rather, they are storing it centrally on internal file servers or private cloud storage deployments. In doing so, they are driving a new era of corporate cloud storage that requires corporate data centers to host tens or even hundreds of terabytes of data.

3. Machine-Generated Data Growth
Unstructured data and data originating from unconventional sources are two reasons for corporate data growth. One data driver not evident to many people but responsible for much of the data glut is audio, image and video capture technology. Organizations using these technologies are being forced to upwardly modify their data growth projections by two or more times, according to a DCIG report.

4. Availability of Automated Archiving Appliances
Next-generation archiving appliances are now better equipped to meet demands of increased data growth while reducing management challenges. Archiving appliances now include hardware and software in a single SKU and often feature preset archive policies. Deployments will require some configuration, but leveraging archiving appliances provides a good head start and helps organizations more quickly yield benefits in terms of archive automation and tiered storage optimization.

Organizations today operate in a much different world in terms of data growth than they did even just a few years ago. As a result, they need to put in place a storage infrastructure that allows them to prepare for the advent of big data and the increased use of private cloud storage, as well as virtual and cloud compute environments. Data archiving strategies help organizations increase IT efficiency manage costs and optimize the storage infrastructure to ensure data protection and timely access to information and content.

TED JOHNSON is a global product marketing manager at Imation Corp.


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