What is Cold Data Storage and Why Does It Matter?

Cold data storage from a cloud services provider offers businesses a cost-effective data storage solution for the files they aren’t accessing regularly. For most companies, it’s a safe place to keep compliance records and contracts, legal documents, and other archival data. A data storage services provider with high-security virtual and physical infrastructure is the best solution for businesses seeking a way to store essential operations data without incurring the high costs associated with hot storage hardware.

What is Cold Data Storage?

Business data accrual, particularly for larger companies, makes it difficult to find storage space for essential files on company hardware. The sheer volume of data that a large, publicly-traded company creates in a single day, for example, is far beyond the capacity of several home office computers. Amazon, for example, stores more than a billion Gigabytes of company data across more than a million and a half servers. For companies that aren’t maintaining their own data center like Amazon, a cloud storage services provider is usually the more flexible and affordable solution for the business’s data storage requirements.

For large companies, the vast majority of their data is a collection of files that they need to keep, but rarely need to access. Cold data storage is the most cost-effective solution for keeping this type of data in a secure location without using the expensive hardware you’d find in a bare-metal cloud server or similar high-end infrastructure. The data that’s in cold storage is significantly less accessible than it would be with other server infrastructure. Still, in most cases, this shouldn’t matter- if your business does need to access something in cold storage, it will take longer to access, but the security of the file will be equal to the files in your active “hot” storage servers.

What Types of Files Belong in Cold Storage?

Cold data storage is a solid choice for creating backups of essential company information. It’s usually essential that the company keeps this backup data on hand, but the security protocols around the more frequently accessed company data make it unlikely that the business will ever have to access these backup instances. In addition to file backups, companies often store legal compliance documents, old contracts, tax documents, and other general archival data in cold storage so that it’s out of the way, safe, but not deleted from the record officially.

The collection of data that companies store in cold storage hard drives is often referred to as dormant data because it’s rarely accessed and is often stored on significantly older servers than other forms of company files. In short, it’s considerably more challenging to access these files because of the older tech, but it’s also significantly cheaper storage per gigabyte. In some cases, the business may need to physically access the server’s computer terminal in order to pull items from storage. Cloud services providers offer cold storage that’s accessible from the cloud, though pulling data and records from the cold storage hard drives can still be difficult and time-consuming.

What is Hot Storage?

Data that your company accesses frequently is usually stored in hot storage rather than cold data storage. Hot storage servers typically utilize top-of-the-line hardware and cloud services so that the items in storage are accessible on-demand from anywhere in the world, so long as the individual trying to access the data has the appropriate security credentials. Rather than a traditional hard drive, hot storage servers store data on NVMe SSD drives to speed up the process of accessing files.

Processors like the AMD Ryzen series and Intel Xeon Gold are typical to hot storage servers, while RAM upwards of 64GB is also fairly common. Bandwidth on their dedicated hot storage servers usually tracks upwards of one Gbps for larger businesses, while traffic is generally unlimited. The hardware specifics for hot storage vary greatly depending on whether or not the business has a company data center. A cloud services provider can help companies find a dedicated server that can serve as a hot data storage solution. Any file that the company accesses on a regular basis through the cloud is an eligible item for inclusion in hot storage. Video and other forms of general media, for example, benefit immensely from the high computing power and top-of-the-line hardware that companies use for hot storage.

Costs of Hot vs. Cold Data Storage

One of the primary benefits of cold data storage is the cost. In most cases, cold cloud storage is less than half the price of a dedicated server for hot storage. Many businesses aim to use cold data storage to save money and secure their information whenever possible. Because there is very little difference in security between cold and hot storage, there are hardly any downsides to using this storage solution for items you don’t need to access regularly. However, most businesses use a mix of cold and hot storage for their data. Legal compliances records, for example, belong in cold storage, while training videos and other critical operations media instead belong in a hot data storage solution.

Finding the Right Data Storage Solutions for Your Business

A cloud services provider can assist you and your business in finding the data storage solutions that will make managing your data accessible and efficient. High-quality cloud data storage servers and hard drives are built on scalable infrastructure so that your business can easily pay for more terabytes of storage as you collect more company data without disrupting the security or accessibility of the files. Cold data storage is a fantastic choice for archiving old information, maintaining legal compliances while organizing company hardware, and optimizing the overall day-to-day operations of your business. Contact a public or private cloud storage provider to learn more about how the cost-efficient solution of cold data storage can assist in freeing up your existing space and improving your digital workspaces.