Cold Data Storage Explained

Cold data storage is for data that is infrequently accessed by an organization. Learn the difference between cold and hot storage.

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Working with large volumes of data means that businesses must be constantly aware of storage and access costs associated with their operations. Onsite storage requires constant attention, ongoing backups, and modern IT security capabilities.

IT leaders and small business owners are turning to the cloud for practical data management capabilities. However, there are different costs associated with different use cases. Understanding these costs means understanding the differences between cold and hot storage.

What Is Cold Data Storage?

Data that is rarely accessed, used, or shared doesn’t require as many options for users. Having access to basic, low-cost storage capabilities is essential in such a situation.

With cold data storage, information can be placed on low-cost equipment that doesn’t necessarily have the performance requirements needed for continuous use or access. This approach offers a better option for businesses that want long-term storage for data that they will not be using very often.

Example of Cold Data Storage

Inactive data that users only need every so often can be easily kept in a single location or across multiple locations within various storage mediums.

Users generally want high-capacity and high-resiliency systems that are capable of withstanding fires, floods, and other natural disasters. With cold storage systems, redundancy is much more important than speed.

Any type of data can be cold storage data, including:

  • Media files
  • Compliance data
  • Regulatory data

Backup data, archives, and important documents can all be stored long term without the need for complicated software or other tools that would be required for continuous access or use.

Where Is Cold Data Stored?

IT professionals and small business owners can store dormant data either in-house or in the cloud. The most important thing is to find a safe, low-cost location that can be accessed when needed.

Businesses that are concerned about keeping their cold data safe can use their own physical disks for offline storage. When in-house equipment isn’t an option, many cloud-based solutions offer secure high-volume storage boxes at reduced pricing.

If you have low-priority data that you need to store for long periods, cold data storage services offer data scalability at a fraction of the price.

Cold Storage vs. Hot Storage

Cold storage is an essential part of any data-focused business strategy. Seldom-used data that needs to be kept around for documentation, reporting, and compliance requires specialized systems for safekeeping.

What Is Hot Storage?

When users need continuous on-demand access to important work-related data, IT infrastructure must be able to keep up. Cold storage is perfect for data that isn’t accessed very often but presents limitations when data needs to be quickly edited, shared, or migrated to a different location.

With hot storage, businesses have optimized low-latency environments that let them manage their workloads without being held back by bandwidth or download limitations.

How Does Hot Storage Differ from Cold Storage?

Hot storage and cold storage both provide businesses with industrial-level data management capabilities. However, they have fundamental differences that potential users should consider.

The core purpose of cold storage is to give users cheap, safe, and out-of-the-way systems for storing important data that they can’t get rid of.

Hot storage, on the other hand, is often used for actively accessing and maintaining data in real time. This use model means that hot storage servers need to have faster hardware capable of dealing with multiple access points.

Why Is Cold Storage Necessary for Enterprises?

Enterprises that deal with large volumes of data often see high costs associated with storage due to expensive drives, backups, and management software. This mix of systems makes it more difficult to keep track of data, especially as businesses continue to grow. Cold storage gives decision makers more flexibility for growth and low-cost solutions for keeping up with the ever-changing business landscape.

Significant Growth in Data Storage

For growing businesses, the cost of storing data, documents, and other important resources can easily get out of hand, slowing growth and limiting the potential for leaders to find new opportunities. Cold storage provides an effective means by which IT leaders and small business owners can easily manage their important data as they invest in future strategies.

There Is a Need for Cost-Effective Storage for Cold Data

Storing data is expensive. This expense means that businesses often must make sacrifices when deciding what data to keep and what to get rid of. With cold storage, businesses can store more data for less money, allowing them to make more practical decisions about what data is and isn’t stored. With predictable costs and no surprises, cold storage gives businesses peace of mind when storing their data.

Evolution of Data Compliance Standards

Businesses that operate with user data are responsible for keeping track of private information and making sure it stays secure. IT managers and small business owners who don’t want to face legal liability can use cold storage for better security. Managed storage services provide trusted industry expertise that makes it easier for businesses to maintain data compliance.

How to Manage Cold Storage: Best Practices

Cold storage is a great option and can provide many benefits when correctly implemented. Decision makers should consider best practices when deploying cold storage. Low-cost cloud-based cold storage solutions that receive ongoing security monitoring are the best way for businesses to store their data long term.

Use Cost-Effective but Reliable Cold Storage

When businesses can save money on data storage, they have more growth opportunities. The use of reliable, cost-effective cold storage for important data allows users to effectively manage the information that they need for their day-to-day operations.

Use Cloud-Based Cold Storage

Local storage options can be costly and require redundancy techniques such as RAID and object storage. IT managers and small business owners who want to reduce technical overhead can use cloud-based cold storage options that give them reliable tools, platforms, and support options—often for only a fraction of the price.

Audit Cold Storage Annually

While cold storage is a great way to save valuable assets over the long term, managers shouldn’t simply take a set-and-forget approach.

Although cold storage services are designed for resiliency, ongoing data flows can lead to potential errors, lost information, and unwanted activity. Annual audits of cold storage systems will ensure data integrity and prevent unwanted access.

Learn more about Lyve Cloud and how it can support your cold data storage efforts.