Cloud storage poses a serious threat to traditional archive solutions. Organizations that rely on tape face the same old challenges around tape management and reliability. Enterprises that have opted for disk have their own struggles, including dealing with the added on-site hardware and management costs. The cloud offers enterprises a chance to archive files indefinitely at an attractive price, and reliably retrieve them when needed.
Currently, there are three major classes of file archive solutions, and each is geared to different business needs. The purpose of this post, which offers an overview of the three ways to archive files in a cloud storage world, is to help you identify the right solution for your organization.
1. Active Archive
Generally, active archive products consist of local, on-premises storage hardware that has been designed for less expensive capacity and lower durability at the expense of accessibility and performance. An active archive box is a local and inexpensive – relative to the costs of primary storage, that is – place to stash data.
Active archive functionality is required if the data is expected to be searched regularly. In addition, if you have a court case, and you need access to a large file volume as part of the litigation process, some active archives offer litigation hold feature sets that will accommodate your needs. Active archives also keep data available for business intelligence and analytics applications, but not for end users who are frequently accessing and working on these files.
While less expensive than full-performance primary storage, active archive products need to provide these additional features, so they are the most expensive archive option.
2. Cold Archive
At the other end of the spectrum lie cold archive solutions. This is the cheapest form of storage available. Cold archive systems are ideal for those files you will probably never access, but cannot delete, either. They’re the equivalent of the physical storage locker filled with all those family heirlooms you just can’t bring yourself to throw out.
Traditionally, organizations would move files to tape and send them off to physical storage vendors such as Iron Mountain. But the cloud offers a more efficient alternative. Microsoft Azure and AWS both offer cold archive products that allow organizations to store object data at a deep discount. The cost of retrieval can be surprisingly expensive if you need to access the data, but again, the point of these systems is to fill them with the files you will probably never need. So that retrieval cost is often irrelevant.
3. Cool Archive
The cool archive is an emerging class of archive products that includes the benefits of both active and cold archives. The need for a cool archive is most often found with project-oriented work. For example, engineering and construction firms building a new structure won’t immediately need the relevant files when the project is complete. But they do want to be able to quickly retrieve the files should their client decide to alter or expand the project.
The same holds true for architecture firms, media and marketing agencies and entertainment producers such as game designers. These companies may not need high-performance access to the associated data once a project is complete, but they want to be able to access it quickly, reliably and without a high cost of retrieval.
Leveraging the Cloud as a Cool Archive
Here at Nasuni we have long been focused on our general purpose file system — a single, integrated solution that stores, protects and extends distributed, high-performance access to unstructured file data. We designed Nasuni Enterprise File Services to meet all of an organization’s file-related needs. But we listen to our clients, too. And they have been asking for an archive-type option that matches the cool model described above. So we built one for them.
Currently in preview, Nasuni File Archive is designed for organizations with project-based work involving large volumes of files that don’t need to remain on expensive local storage, or even in a standard, easily accessed Nasuni-managed cloud volume, but can’t be rolled under an iron mountain or flash-frozen in the cloud, either.
Contact us today to talk about your archiving needs, and whether Nasuni File Archive can help your organization.