Storing and archiving data in times of hybrid work

Storing and archiving data in times of hybrid work

Hybrid working poses a new challenge for employers: when employees work from multiple locations, confidential data can no longer be stored in a single central location. In order to still be able to access and protect the data, companies must use local, external and cloud backups as well as archiving solutions, says Manfred Berger from Western Digital Corporation. […]

Long-term archiving data or “cold storage” is stored at cost-effective levels. Basically, this refers to information that is archived over a long period of time until it is used, for example in the event of a failure or a cyber attack. As the world generates and archives more stored data than ever before, e.g. for video material, cold storage is becoming significantly more relevant. It is the first choice for data that is protected but does not have to be accessed within milliseconds – for example, backups of companies. When medium-sized to large companies start to create backup copies several times at different locations, the amount of storage in the data centers continues to increase. Companies must then examine how their data can be archived most efficiently.

The importance of cold storage is also an answer to the problem of ransomware attacks. This is malware that is used by unauthorized persons to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and the data stored on them. These attacks can have a much lower impact if access to backup copies is possible. The situation is similar with data that is not actively required, for example from extreme weather events such as floods. This data can be stored in cold storage pools – at significantly lower costs.

Most cold storage archives are stored either on tapes or on hard disk drives (HDDs). Although tape memories are cheaper than HDDs, they also have a higher latency when accessing data. This makes them an option for information that needs to be kept even longer. HDDs and next-generation platforms play a decisive role in this. They improve both the total cost of ownership and access to archiving solutions. These include zoning, higher surface densities, mechanical innovations and material innovations.

The Rise of the Green Data Center

Looking ahead to 2021, COP26 (the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in Glasgow from 31.10.-13.11.2021) has made it clear that there are more and more opportunities for companies to commit to sustainability goals and take the path to climate neutrality. Data centers can be the largest consumer of electricity in a country and contribute to increased carbon dioxide emissions. Because your energy consumption is increasing despite – or precisely because of – Corona.

The willingness to switch to high-capacity drives is likely to increase, as few high-capacity drives are more energy efficient than several low-capacity drives. In addition, the storage density per rack is increased and the number of these required to achieve the required capacity can be reduced. In this way, the total power consumption and the TCO can be reduced.

With JBOD solutions, power consumption can be reduced by intelligently running each drive at maximum performance. This is possible because the drives are isolated from vibrations and the air flow is channeled in such a way as to maintain optimal operating temperatures. Otherwise, these would impair performance and additionally require expensive cooling. Companies will therefore increasingly prefer data centers and operations that are operated with air cooling or renewable energy.

New concerns about data sovereignty

According to McKinsey, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by several years, both in companies and in public institutions, from educational institutions to healthcare. This has brought data sovereignty back to the center of interest of companies.

Regional control over the data generated by digital technologies will be a priority for them. In the course of the digital transformation, IT managers must ensure that the data is stored and protected in accordance with the regulations. For companies based in the EU, this means that the data must remain within the EU borders.

As far as the proper data storage in companies is concerned, a recent study by Western Digital on data security in companies proves: the greatest security risk comes from the employees themselves and from data exchange and data backup. Across countries, the figures show that 55 percent of data users have access to data that they believe is outside their area of responsibility. This is all the more worrying because, according to the survey, 98 percent of data managers consider the security of storing and transmitting sensitive work content to be in need of improvement.

*Manfred Berger is Senior Manager Business Development for Data Center Solutions and Platforms at Western Digital Corporation.

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