The Hidden Cost of Data Storage

Data. Everyone has it. On shared network drives, Sharepoint sites and in email attachments. We take it for granted. But at what cost?

Most organisations don’t really pay much attention to their data usage patterns until drive mappings start showing up with red bars in Windows Explorer, where users and systems start complaining of the lack of space and performance.

The answer is to add more storage, right? Isn’t that the normal approach? Add more drives, expand that RAID storage and off we go again? Whilst cost per Tb has fallen dramatically over recent years with the current drive units exceeding 10Tb, there are hidden costs that few consider when adding that extra capacity into the network.

Consider your backups. You add more storage to your network, it only makes sense you add more capacity to your data protection systems, but do you? Perhaps your backup storage system is also at capacity, unable to expand any further. So now your initial investment in increasing your primary network storage may now have to quadruple when you factor in an upgrade to your backup storage solution also.

But let’s say you have kept your backup storage in sync with your production servers. Everyone is enjoying the new space, and your backups are running nice and smoothly. That is until disaster arrives, and your production network or core server goes down unexpectedly. Now what? Perhaps your hardware provider needs to swap out the entire hardware chassis and perform a bare metal recovery from your backups, and all those Terabytes of data take time to be restored.

Have you considered the possible loss of revenue on your operations, and impact on your brand’s reputation? Even with the fastest network data throughput, you could be looking at downtime of over a day to recover a multi-Terabyte image back to full operational capability. Could your organisation cope with a significant level of disruption and loss of revenue waiting for a restore to complete?

However, there are other costs to consider too. All this extra storage needs space for the hardware to be located, electricity to power the units and air conditioning to keep it all cool. Each of these requirements can carry a significant cost, none of which reduces over time.

So what’s the answer?

While many advocate moving data into the cloud and away from on-premise platforms, this is sometimes not suitable for everyone and can become more expensive, depending on volume of data stored and cloud technology used.

But there is another option to consider.

With the introduction of GDPR regulations, perhaps the answer is to actually audit your data storage as part of your compliance measures. Are you storing data that is no longer relevant, not business related or just legacy data that could be archived to offline storage? Maybe even just deleted? If your data has been around for a few years, chances are significant space savings could be made simply by doing some housekeeping, and introducing properly implemented data retention policies.

So before you reach for the company credit card, have a look at what you are storing… you may be surprised what you discover sitting take up space on your network. You might even be able to extend the lifespan of your existing storage – allowing you time to budget for a replacement to your legacy RAID based solution such as Object Based Storage, with improved resilience and replication capabilities.

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