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How do I know if cloud-based archiving is the right choice?

If you don't need to access old data much, cloud archiving could work out well. That's just one consideration, though, for deciding which archival platform to employ.

Although cloud providers work hard to promote cloud storage as the only sane choice for data archiving, there is...

no such thing as a universally applicable archiving solution. Cloud-based archiving can be the perfect choice for one company, but a terrible option for another.

So, how can you decide if cloud-based archiving is right for you? There are several elements to consider:

  • The frequency with which you access your archived data: Archive-grade cloud storage tends to be very slow, so if you need to access your archives frequently, then you may have a better experience if those archives are located on premises. In addition, storage capacity is usually only one of the costs associated with cloud archiving. Most providers also charge their customers a fee for accessing their data, which can easily exceed the basic storage cost.
  • Your existing storage infrastructure, as well as your data archiving goals: If you have plenty of raw capacity available in-house, then it may not make sense to lease storage from a cloud provider when you already have storage hardware. On the other hand, if you have a requirement to store data in another region, then cloud-based archiving may be the better choice.
  • The ease with which you will be able to enforce your retention policies: If your company preserves its archived data forever, that's great. Most companies, however, purge archived data after a period of time. Data lifecycle management is usually performed through an automated process. Depending on the platform you are using, it may be difficult to configure your data lifecycle management system to manage cloud-based archiving.
  • The volume of data to be archived: Public cloud providers offer nearly unlimited capacity at what is normally a reasonable cost per gigabyte. Even so, you have to think about how you will get your archived data to the cloud. If you need to archive hundreds of gigabytes of data every day, then the available bandwidth may be inadequate for the required data transfers.
This was last published in July 2018

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How much do you rely on cloud archiving versus other forms of archival storage?
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