2023 Data Storage and Active Archive Trends – Part I

January 28th, 2023 by Meredith Bagnulo

Members of the Active Archive Alliance shared their 2023 predictions for data storage and active archives. In Part I, we look at data growth, unstructured data management, magnetic recording technology, and the use of object storage for active archives. Here are some of the top trends to watch:

The Concept of Archive, Once Considered an Afterthought, Has Again Moved to the Forefront of IT Strategies. As more organizations adopt hybrid cloud storage architectures, using a combination of on-premises and public cloud storage, archiving is being leveraged for capacity management (to remove less used data from backups and improve system performance) while enabling data preservation. Storage lifecycle management software simplifies archiving by identifying less active data residing on expensive primary storage and moving it to more affordable and protected storage, including disk or tape. Many organizations in life sciences, research, digital evidence, and media and entertainment are leading the way in this type of archiving approach. Over time, archived data is accessed less often but continues to be available online as an active archive for the long term for compliance, research, business intelligence, and digital legacies. ~ Betsy Doughty, VP of Corporate Marketing, Spectra Logic

New Shared Storage Technology Needed to Sustainably Harness Active Archive Growth. With today’s data-driven economy fueling an ever-exploding growth of storage, active archives have transitioned from Terabytes to Petabytes, and there is no end in sight. More than ever, businesses are discovering that their archived content has new analytical or regulatory value. The need for businesses to access more and more data quickly and move that data out of the archive and across channels faster, easier, and more cost-effectively has dictated that active archives utilize hard drive technology for performance versus comparatively slower tape libraries, or for cost-effectiveness versus more expensive flash arrays. To address this need, the hard drive industry has been developing new technology to increase capacity per spindle, such as Helium sealed drives, Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR), and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR). With these new technologies, we will likely see hard drives approaching 30TB soon. However, traditional scale-up systems use RAID, which often limits the capacity per spindle (on the order 8TB) vs. more efficient high-capacity drives due to performance, reliability, and rebuild time concerns. Alternatively, scale-out solutions require wasteful replication, in some cases as much as 3x. Neither solution is well suited to scale with the ongoing data growth without costly increases in power usage and carbon emissions.

New shared storage technology will emerge that can take full advantage of the latest efficient high-capacity hard drives without compromising performance, efficiency, or reliability. By utilizing the highest capacity hard drives, active archive capacity can scale within the same power and space footprint. Such a breakthrough is needed to keep pace with data growth without subjecting the environment to unsustainable growth in power usage and carbon emissions.  ~ Derek Dicker, CEO, Nyriad

Use of Object storage for Active Archives Will Continue to Grow, Especially in Hybrid Cloud Infrastructures. Hybrid cloud storage means different things to different people. For many, combining file and object access to the same storage system allows their organization to use both file-based and native-cloud applications to address the same unstructured content. A combined file/object storage approach provides a smooth path to hybrid cloud storage. And this is not just limited to disk-based object storage, as the increasing availability of file/object storage interfaces for on-premises tape archives allows users to take advantage of the reliability and economies of data tape for active archives. ~ Phil Storey, CEO, XenData

Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) HDDs Will Capture a Material Portion of the Data Storage Market in Large Cloud and Enterprise Environments. SMR and UltraSMR technology will further its proliferation in cloud service providers and large enterprises where lowering total cost of ownership for large data repositories is key to their success. An important benefit of SMR HDD technologies, including UltraSMR, is that a single tier of storage can deliver HDD-level data access performance at $/TB levels never before realized by traditional CMR HDD technology. While SMR technology has been in practice for several years, it is now delivering compelling TCO benefits that are motivating cloud providers and ISVs to develop and implement the specialized storage software needed to take advantage of this technology. Because of this, SMR and UltraSMR are expected to capture a very material share of storage for large data storage environments. ~ Mark Pastor, Director, Platform Product Management, Western Digital

Unstructured Data Management Continues to be a Data Storage Game Changer. For many companies, unstructured data “stuck” in traditional storage environments represents untapped potential that’s difficult to access or analyze. The complexity of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments has made it challenging for IT decision-makers to minimize data silos and translate unstructured data into intelligent, actionable information.

Data management based on an automatic storage tiering approach allows IT teams to avoid silos and dynamically prioritize and distribute data across existing and legacy storage tiers to achieve greater flexibility, access, and speed. Incorporating tape automation as secondary or tertiary storage frees up more expensive primary storage for real-time data transactions, with the added benefit of ensuring greater compliance and security in case of disaster. Tape’s proven reliability, energy efficiency and low TCO make it both a smart and green choice for long-term data storage and active archiving. These are decision-making parameters that have become more important than ever today. ~ Eric L. Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Overland-Tandberg



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