Top 7 Data Storage and Active Archive Predictions for 2016

Active archives have become a best practice for organizations that need to store and access large volumes of data. Stemming from recent technology advancements in the storage industry that have led to a variety of approaches to creating and implementing an active archive, more organizations are now benefitting from reliable access to all of their data all of the time.

Members of the Active Archive Alliance recently shared their predictions for data storage as it relates to active archives in 2016.  Here is a list of the Top 7 active archive trends to watch:

The Move to Hybrid Cloud

Organizations are increasingly integrating the private cloud within their computing architectures to form stable and efficient hybrid cloud systems, which helps mitigate the limited capabilities and risks of public clouds. Cloud data centers are targeted and intermittently attacked by malware and hackers, making them one of the most threatened data centers. With the hybrid cloud, organizations can effortlessly adjust their public cloud resources to accommodate changes while they maintaining sensitive information within their private infrastructures.

Increased Prevalence of Active Archives
The declining price of hard disk drives and tape systems are making storage options more affordable and will allow for more organizations to implement archive actives. This coincides with a desire for better business insight with analytics using larger data sets and modeling to accelerate time to results. Data is becoming more valuable as the use of analytics increases and businesses want to use historical data to make better decisions. Active archiving with unified data across multiple tiers of storage allows businesses faster access to data, better insights and the ability to make more informed decisions. 

Data Centers Become More Empowered

Data centers will become competitive forces used to drive business advantage because information is a major asset in today’s modern global economy. Organizations will see the huge benefit that comes from monetizing archived data storage by making most data storage active, retaining storage for longer cycles, which is the basic premise and benefit of active archiving and using scale-out storage.  The Media & Entertainment industry, and Life Sciences & Genomics are among the uses cases where historical information suddenly can turn into a hot business asset.

Seamless Storage Management Regardless of Technology

New software abstracts flash, disk, tape and cloud into simple, easy to use storage that works within current user behavior (no special or custom integration required). This intelligence will blur the line between performance storage and cost effective capacity storage and it will make tape and cloud as easy to use as the current c: drive.  It will also reduce back up or even eliminate backup for fixed content. Archive copies will become the new standard and intelligent storage management will automatically provide data protection (numbers of copies, self-healing function) both for local and off-site copies. And it has the intelligence to know when to store the data in flash for performance and in tape/cloud for resiliency and cost-effective storage. 

An End to Vendor Lock-in

There will be a move away from proprietary solutions that create "vendor lock-in" that lock up user data with vendor dependency, i.e. silo solutions or proprietary software and hardware. As we keep data longer or even forever, we will need solutions that are flexible, vendor neutral, support completely open formats and ensure that data can be accessible now and in the future. 

Expanded Role for Advanced Data Tape in Active Archive Environments

With organizations seeking to keep access to all of their data and content indefinitely, new innovations in tape technology will make this possible and affordable in an active archive environment. Increased capacity coming from LTO-7 now at 15.0 TB compressed will help reduce TCO and boost performance with a transfer speed of 750 MB per second. The newly extended LTO roadmap to generation 10 will allow organizations to leverage investments already made in LTO systems and continue to migrate archived content well into the future. Finally, tape’s role will continue to grow as a seamless part of the storage infrastructure and the cloud as it becomes easier to use as a file and object storage solution due to LTFS.

Increased Use of Object Storage
Companies will increasingly expand their active archives using object-based storage over file or block storage. Object storage systems allow relatively inexpensive, scalable and durable retention of massive amounts of unstructured data. With object storage, there is no file system hierarchy. The architecture of the platform allows the data pool to scale virtually to an unlimited size, while keeping the system simple to manage. The efficiency of object storage makes massively scalable active data archives affordable. 

In addition, more organizations will adopt S3 as the de-facto standard cloud storage interface for managing large amounts of data in active archives. As organizations increasingly need to simplify and accelerate storage and retrieval for large amounts of data, extracting knowledge and information from historical deep archives as quickly and painlessly as possible, they will need a cost-effective and widely compatible object storage interface.

Active archive technologies are continuing to evolve and provide significant advantages to organizations desiring online data archives and the ability to quickly capitalize on the value inherent in their stored data – and with the trends we are seeing today 2016 should be another stellar year for active archiving.

The following Active Archive Alliance members contributed to this list: Crossroads Systems, Inc., DataDirect Networks Inc., HGST, Fujifilm Recording Media, Inc. and Spectra Logic Corp.