Warning Signs You Must Delay Cloud Adoption: Part 4

Cloud in front of a stack of coins, with number four next to image

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Infinite capacity and low-cost archive-focused services make the cloud an attractive proposition for data cold storage. Services like Amazon AWS S3 Glacier service are cheap and easy to set up, with relatively low monthly running costs.

But there are serious strategic implications to cloud archiving, which must be addressed before retiring your on-site tape libraries.

Big data analytics and data availability

Big data analytics programs work best with access to all of your data. But using a hosted archive service creates several problems.

First, data held in a cold storage service is not intended to be accessed regularly; it is meant to be retrieved for import into your live environment. And every data retrieval operation is charged per gigabyte.

Information stored in the cloud is also subject to extra latency as data is transferred across the internet. This lag makes cloud storage unsuitable for any real-time analytics or decision-making applications.

Ultimately, cloud archive storage is not suitable for use with big data analytics. 

GDPR and the right to be forgotten

Personal data is increasingly well-protected under law, which means that your data storage mechanisms need to be fully compliant. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affords individuals the right to ask organizations to delete their data. Obviously, this right extends to your backup archives as well as live databases. 

If you move to a cloud-based archiving system, data deletion routines will need to be updated accordingly. But don’t forget: information held in hosted cold storage is not meant to be accessed, so the cost of retrieving and deleting records may be higher than expected. 

On-site archiving still makes good business sense

Older tape libraries may be an operational headache (CDS can ease the pain with post-warranty maintenance), but they still offer the best way to manage cold storage archives in many cases. Better yet, a cascade-down approach to replacing older tape-based archives with your unused, always-on hard disk storage arrays provides latency-free access to information for big data operations.

However you choose to proceed, the problems with cloud archiving are neither negligible or avoidable. So unless your strategy addresses these issues, you must delay your move to the cloud.

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