Globally, we’re creating zettabytes of data, by some estimates 175ZB by 2025, and most of it is going to be inactive or “cold” in the mid- to long-term. For reference, a zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes.
More than 64ZB of data was created in 2020 alone during the pandemic, but less than 2% of this new data was saved into 2021, according to researcher IDC. The rest was either ephemeral (created or replicated primarily for the purpose of consumption) or temporarily cached and subsequently overwritten with newer data.
That’s a problem, especially as IDC SVP Dave Reinsel warns, “The amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data created since the advent of digital storage. The question is: How much of it should be stored?”
The amount of storage capacity is growing, but at a slower annual rate than the amount of data we’re all generating.
Another IDC executive, John Rydning says, “Organizations should consider preparing now to store more data as they seek to achieve digital transformation milestones and improve business metrics by accelerating innovative data analytics initiatives.”
One solution is to find a more efficient means of storing cold or “unstructured” data — which IDC says makes up about 60% of the total. Such cold data must be stored, protected, and remain accessible for years or decades because of compliance requirements and the immense value it contains. With traditional storage architectures, most organizations don’t have the budget, footprint or resources to handle this data explosion, forcing them to make operational or budget trade-offs.
READ MORE: Data Creation and Replication Will Grow at a Faster Rate than Installed Storage Capacity, According to the IDC Global DataSphere and StorageSphere Forecasts (IDC)
Storage systems vendor Quantum aims to ride to the rescue. In a new product announcement, Quantum is introducing ActiveScale Cold Storage — described as a new class of object storage designed for cold data, built on hyperscale architectures, and offered as-a-service. The solution combines object storage software with the company’s tape-based Scalar system to create what it describes as “a new class of storage that is secure, highly durable, and extremely low-cost.”
It claims that its technology — which will be released Q1 2022 — can reduce cold storage costs by 80%, and introduces some technical advantages that are not available in any other solution. This includes patent-pending two-dimensional erasure coding (2D EC) software and the Quantum RAIL Architecture (Redundant Array of Independent Libraries).
Company chairman and CEO Jamie Lerner says Quantum already provides solutions to many of the world’s biggest hyperscale cloud providers — such as AWS — that are building “‘forever’ cold data archives.”
“The innovations announced today enable us to combine Quantum hyperscale tape architectures with Quantum software, package all of this technology as a cloud service that can be deployed anywhere and offer it to enterprises and cloud providers who are facing the same challenges as hyperscalers,” he said.
ActiveScale Cold Storage can be deployed as a fully managed service at the customer’s data center, at a third-party data center, or at a combination of the two to build geo-dispersed, hybrid cloud archive storage. The technology enables both active and cold storage infrastructures to be deployed at a single-site, two-sites using data replication, or three sites. Data buckets can also be migrated and replicated between ActiveScale and public cloud environments in support of hybrid cloud environments.
It is argued that tape is less expensive than disk and requires much less power and cooling in a datacenter, which is why it is the preferred technology for long-term data archiving.
“Tape is rightly the preferred cold storage technology used in hyperscale environments because it is low cost, secure, and environmentally friendly,” Bruno Hald, General Manager, Secondary Storage, Quantum, said in a news release. “Until now, using it as part of an on-premises object storage system was impossible. ActiveScale is now the industry’s first and only on-premises object store system with an integrated cold storage class based on tape technology. In short, this means it dramatically lowers costs, consumes little power, and reliably stores data for decades.”
READ MORE: Quantum Redefines Long-Term Data Archiving With New Class Of Storage And New Line Of Fully Managed Object Storage Services (Quantum)
IDC finds that IoT data (not including video surveillance cameras) is the fastest-growing data segment, followed by social media.
It further finds that data created in the cloud is not growing as fast as data stored in the cloud, but it is still growing faster than the aggregate “DataSphere.”
In an earlier report released in 2018, IDC said that the end game for storage media is solid state, not tape.
The analyst firm said, “The growth in endpoint and edge storage will favor solid state, while the core continues to have a voracious appetite for the economical bytes that hard disk drives and tape provide.”