Storing and archiving data is an integral part of running a business. A lot of data is held around the world by corporations. According to one firm, the global data stored will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025.
File archiving is an essential part of controlling documents. It enables companies to manage and monitor the distribution, accessibility, and creation of necessary documentation. Moreover, archiving helps to secure your data and create backups for data recovery plans.
What is an Archive File?
An archive file collects data that saves your company’s critical information. Archive files are computer files that contain several other computer files, including metadata. Generally, archive files have many computer files compressed into one, making storing information easier while utilizing minimum space.
Archiving files is best for managing records for your organization. This is because it prevents critical data from being lost over time. Thereby, you can access essential data through archived files whenever needed.
Top 10 Methods to Archive Data
When data reaches a point where it is no longer required but needs to be archived for compliance or security reasons, the storage choices may not always be clear. Let us examine the best options and ways to archive your data.
1. Hard Drives
Hard drives are one of the most common storage medium types and are considered one of the best data archiving ways. Most external hard drives range between $16 to $20 per terabyte. You can fit a lot of data onto a single drive.
The only downside is that these hard drives take up a lot of space. Also, they are pretty delicate with all the moving parts inside them. While traveling, you need to treat them with the utmost care.
You may be concerned about the life of a hard drive, but when unused, it lasts quite a while. You only need to spin it up once a year to keep the moving parts inside from seizing up. Generally, hard drives last around 15 years.
2. Flash Storage
Memory cards, USB flash drives, and solid-state drivers are all examples of flash shortages. Although flash storage might be a good data archiving tool, it is not that cost-effective.
The long-term retention capability of flash shortage is not as well known as it is for hard drives. This is because flash storage has not been around for long. However, flash drives continue to work fine even after more than ten years of usage.
The most distinct part of flash storage for archival use is its size and robustness. A flash drive may be tiny, but you can fit a lot of data. Flash drives have a storage capacity of 512GB or even 1TB, allowing you to archive as much data as you want. Moreover, flash storage does not have to be treated as delicately as a hard drive since it does not use moving parts.
The downside is flash storage devices are expensive. Even a cheap 64GB flash drive breaks down to about $235 per terabyte. This is around ten times more expensive than average hard drive storage.
3. Blu-ray Discs
Blu-ray discs are a common medium to distribute TV shows and movies. Generally, they are great for just the general storage of data. As long as you have a writable Blu-ray disc, you can archive any file you want on the disc. It is better known as a BD-R disc when you write data to it.
These discs are known to last a couple of hundred years. Moreover, they are pretty affordable if you calculate their price per terabyte. A stack of 50 BD-R discs at 25 GB only costs $24, and the total storage you get from the stack equals 1.25 TB. This costs 19.20 per terabyte, the exact cost of hard drive storage.
You would need a BD-R drive to write and archive data to the discs. Although the data would not write BD-R drive discs as fast as other storage mediums, it may not turn out to be a huge concern because it is a write-once application. Discs typically are priced around $90.
4. LTO Tapes
Although it may be uncommon, a popular form of archival storage is LTO (Linear Tape-Open). It’s commonly used in hardcore archivers because it works well for archiving hundreds of terabytes.
The LTO tapes have a tremendously low cost-per-terabyte price point. Although the up-front cost is relatively high (nearly $1500 for a 20-pack LTO-7 tape), it comes to just $11.50 per terabyte for uncompressed storage.
Also, you would need a tape drive to write data onto the tapes, which may be pretty expensive. It works well for users with hundreds of terabytes they want to archive.
5. Tape Storage Media
Although the disk is the popular media choice for data backups, tape storage media remains the most widely used archive media option for onsite and offsite data backups. Tape storage media is popularly used as archived media because of its cost-to-capacity ratio and well-set implementation base.
Tape formats such as DLT-S4 can hold an impressive amount of data, about 800GB of uncompressed data. Moreover, tape is relatively inexpensive compared to a disk. Apart from the costs of media and drive, a tape kept in a vault doesn’t consume any electricity or use expensive data center floor space. It can also be taken off-site at quite a low cost.
Although tape offers sequential access to storage, a disk can be read and written randomly. This may lead to data seeking time delays and an issue with archiving data when you need to search or access it. Moreover, the tape’s portability could be a potential advantage; it also introduces media management overhead for off-site storage. This leads to increased chances for damages due to possible mishandling.
6. Optical Media Storage
Optical media storage was quite famous for archives as it provided the initial forms of writing and reading many (WORM) data overwrite protection. This means that once the media has been written, it can not be overwritten but can only be read.
Optical Media Storage has been the media with the most extended shelf life. Its life is estimated to be around 30 to 200 years, depending on the manufacturers. Optical media is more resistant than tape media for repeating read passes. It uses laser technology and does not require physical contact with a tape drive’s rollers, redheads, and guides.
On the contrary, optical media storage has slow read performance and low capacity. It has even slower write performance and higher costs. The mainstream optical cartridges that were common until the mid-2000s could store around 9GB of data and offer read speeds of 8MBps.
7. Removable Disk Storage
Removable disk storage is one of the main archiving methods people are unaware of. It offers the benefits of disk-based archiving with the portability of a tape. Famous companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Tandberg Data have RDX removable disk technology.
The removable disk technology is offered with a single disk cartridge capacity that ranges from 160GB to 640GB for Quantum and Dell. For HP, the storage goes up to 750 GB. The 30MBps performance and the lack of high-capacity appliances make the technology better for smaller volumes of archive data.
The removable disk storage provides disk media’s random read and write capability. Moreover, the removable disk offers the same portability as tape media. The technology is also available for multi-disk appliances.The downside is that a removable disk is relatively expensive for data archive storage. High-capacity storage of 750 GB cartridges can cost between 300$ and 400$ compared to other discs such as LTO-5. The removable disk storage includes a media handling component similar to tape storage. The lack of high-capacity appliances limits technology use in smaller environments.
8. Cloud Archiving
Although cloud archiving may be new to data archiving, it works well for many corporations, especially SMBs. It is a popular backup strategy and works well as a backup disaster recovery tool. The cost of cloud archiving is generally lower than on-site archiving systems. The prices range from 0.25% per GB to $12 per GB per month. Prices mainly depend on the cloud-based archiving service purchased.
Examples of cloud-based archiving products include i365, Iron Mountain, Nirvanix Inc, and Sonian. Cloud archiving and backup tools are used around the world and they are becoming more popular over the years. The cloud backup market is predicted to reach 6.82 billion US $ by 2025.
When you want to opt for the right archive storage media, there are many elements to consider. The most important part is the selection process, which must establish a clear understanding of the requirements. It usually starts with comprehending why archives are needed and the type of archived data required. You may also want to consider the frequency of access to the archive and the search capabilities needed.
9. Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive
Amazon provides the Glacier Depp Archive storage class, which is one of the best data archiving software available in the market. It is designed to provide secure and long-term storage. The data is stored across three AWS Availability Zones.
You no longer have to deal with expensive tape drives or off-premises storage when you have the option to store data in S3 Glacier Deep Archive. Moreover, with this archive, you can easily migrate data to newer generations of media.
If you have existing S3-compatible applications like code, scripts, and lifecycle rules, you can surely take advantage of Glacier Deep Archive Storage. You can specify a new storage class when you upload an object or alter the storage class. You can use other S3 features such as Object Tagging, Storage Class Analysis, and Cross Region Replication.
The existing S3 Glacier storage allows you to access your data quickly. You can switch to Deep Archive for a more affordable archiving solution if you are using Glacier storage class and accessing your data.
10. Microsoft Azure Blob Storage
Microsoft Azure Storage is the industry’s leading platform for archiving data that is rarely accessed.
Even if you have rarely accessed data, it does not mean it is unimportant. Many organizations keep track of multiple years of medical, sensitive, and employee data. When you move your data to the Azure cloud, you want it to be protected with the utmost security. Microsoft’s Archive Storage provides you with secure data transfer to the cloud using HTTPS and secures the data at rest using 256-bit AES keys.
The Azure Archive Storage is another storage that is available for blob storage. Your archive objects can exist side by side in the same account. Moreover, with the introduction of blob-level tiring, you have the option to change an object’s tier with just a single click in the Azure portal. You can also use the REST API to programmatically change as many things as you need.
The best part is that Azure Archive Storage offers durable and low-cost secure cloud storage for rarely accessed data. You can store terabytes of data in the cloud for just a few monthly dollars.
The Bottom Line
Data archiving is a necessary process that you perform to satisfy compliance requirements. You can use all the methods listed in the article to archive data effectively and securely. For the best archiving practices, you should distinguish data that needs to be part of the backup from data that should be archived.
ShareArchiver is a top-notch file-archiving platform that delivers seamless storage management and data protection. The platform is an industry leader in file server data management and archiving solutions. With Share Archiver, you can save up to 90% in storage costs. Contact us now for the best seamless file archiving services and archive your data that remains accessible through virtual files.