Having read Mark Whitby’s article about ‘The world’s hard drive is nearly full‘, it got me thinking. While the context for Mark’s article is clearly home data storage and archiving of family photos and videos, how can we relate that to business storage? In particular, what would that ‘storage’ or ‘hard drive’ look like for organisations that produce terabytes (TB), or even petabytes (PB) on a daily basis? The ‘family’ is bigger but the challenges and drivers are the same.

The volume of data being generated is large and increasing

Archives, almost by definition, get bigger over time and in this context, ‘large’ means big. Very big. Not gigabytes (GB), but hundreds of TB…PB even. And if you’re not archiving it, you’re probably storing a single copy on expensive disc (discs that are quite prone to failure).

The (desired) retention periods are long and the implications of data loss are very high

You don’t know exactly when you are going to need it, but you do know that for a whole range of legal, regulatory and compliance reasons, you have to keep it for a long time. Your data is, of course, irreplaceable. The combination of long retention periods and the irreplaceability of the data (the inherent high value of it) mean that the implications of losing the data are far-reaching.

Given the above, secure, cost-effective and robust digital data archiving are fundamentally important. And the most important thing you want from an archive is that your data, your files, are 100% guaranteed to be safe and available to you when you, or your business, want to access them – whenever that is.

According to Mark Whitby’s article, by 2020 the world will generate 40 zettabytes (that’s 40 billion terabytes) of data annually, so this isn’t a problem that’s going away – it’s just getting bigger and bigger. It’s also not a problem that can be ignored – but there are straightforward answers to your business archiving needs. To find out more about archiving and what it means for your business, read ‘Backup vs Archiving – The Great Debate‘, or watch a quick video about archiving as a service from The Telegraph’s Business Club.