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Cold data storage: How it works and why it matters

by Casey Schmidt  |  June 3, 2021

2 min. read

Managing cold data storage allows a business to prioritize files and develop strong organizational practices. Let’s look at what cold data storage involves and how it works to improve business functionality.

What is cold data storage?

Cold data is inactive data that retains information. The separation of rarely used and daily used information means data belongs in specific locations. Often businesses will have a tiering system for data relating to usage time frames before determining information is in need of storage. If data isn’t used, archiving gives structure to increasing volumes of unstructured data sets.

Cold data storage is an economical practice. The information remains static for long periods and makes room for active information.

3 reasons for cold storage:

  • Preserving raw digital assets
  • Governance and regulatory compliance
  • Audit and analytic trails

Cold data can be stored offline on hard drives, on a cloud or on an internal server. Seldom this information needs to be accessed. If it does, then the process is slow because there is less of a rush.

It should also be noted that using data lineage tools helps separate redundant data from mainstream information and free up space on your servers.

a filing cabinet

How cold data storage works

This information (cold data) is considered valuable when inactive. Speed of access is not a priority, but managing where it is kept is. Good data management requires the ability to identify what information your business needs access to and what can be archived. Automation in this sense can be of huge assistance.

An example of cold data storage usage is Big Data. This information comes in huge sets of information and in order to be analyzed effectively needs to be broken down. Some of this information becomes redundant to a business’s daily operations. Computer nodes like Hadoop can process or maintain less used data automatically. This means data being used on a daily basis is more efficiently stored and ensures primary storage methods don’t become overwhelmed.

3 benefits of cold storage:

  • Cost reduction
  • Optimized data management
  • Economical, efficient data storage

Cold storage versus hot storage

Hot data is actively used and available information. These sets of information flow daily and require speed. In order to function well, data needs to be on the front line and kept up to date. Removing cold data from your active server streamlines business operations. It also clarifies information and gives your team a boost of efficiency. These are key differences when considering cold storage versus hot storage.

In the modern world, data is a vital part of a business’s success from a legal, analytical and historic stance. Effective cold data storage means you have access to archived information when needed, freeing up space for teams to focus on immediate goals. Use the above information to better preserve, organize and store your data.