The Importance of Data Storage for Businesses
In the past, data storage and the cost of data storage was thought to be merely a support technology— it became apparent that it is much more than that. Being able to store a constant onslaught of data is a crucial asset for any business looking to stay organized and efficient. Since the 1970s, new storage innovations have been made in order to keep up with the relentless storage demands from businesses and consumers. The basic question that needed to be answered was, “How can we store more data while keeping things cost effective?”
“Pre-historic” Data Storage: Where it Started
The beginning years of data storage innovation brought with it clunky machinery that wouldn’t have the capacity to hold even a sliver of a single modern day digital application. The IBM 350 weighed about a ton and had to be transported by a forklift. If that wasn’t enough of a turn-off, it could only store up to 5 megabytes of data. A business running in the 21st century would need thousands if not millions of this IBM 350s in order to function at a fraction of the speed that they currently do.
Flash forward a couple of decades and tremendous amounts of progress for storage has been made. A forklift is no longer necessary to move the technology necessary to store data. In fact, many storage units can fit in your hands. These storage units are now able to hold terabytes of data instead of mere megabytes. In 2010, a gigabyte of flash capacity would only set you back $1 and today only 26 cents. This would appear to be a win for the industry, but what about the consumers?
Where Data Storage Can Become Costly
Even though businesses have easier access to storage, they are finding new challenges to overcome with the ways that their data is stored. Their focus turns to the costs of the storage. The cost of buying a gigabyte may have decreased and plateaued to an all-time low, but the cost of storing the storage can continue to increase. Many businesses opting into on-premises data storage will find that more work and money will need to be put in in addition to finding room in-facility for a data center. The company needs to consider electricity costs; storage units need lower temperatures which means more air conditioning, additional salaries; employees dedicated solely for data maintenance, and general equipment maintenance; technology fails and breaks sometimes. It is easy to picture how the bills associated can add up quickly. The five-year on-premises costs could be upward of $2 million, according to an assessment conducted by Wasabi Technologies Inc.
The amount of data in the “datasphere” is increasing daily. It is estimated that by 2025 the “As the amount of data that needs to be stored increases for a company, on-premises data storage may no longer seem like the best solution. This could be especially true for smaller businesses that cannot afford to devote such a large chunk of their budget to data storage. On average, consistently, 7 percent of IT budgets are allocated to data storage, according to a study done by CMS Distribution. It was necessary for the tech industry to go back to the drawing board for a new data storage solution.
The Introduction of Cloud to the Data Storage Game
Companies are continuously searching to cut the costs of data storage. The previous study mentioned by CMS Distribution found that 70 percent of companies are currently revising their storage approach and 92 percent of their respondents worry about managing storage costs as capacity requirements increase. For the answer to their storage cost questions, these businesses should look toward the cloud.
The cloud, whether public or private, stores data on remote servers that are accessed via an internet connection; however, the cloud still stores data on a physical device like a hard drive. All of the businesses’ data will be maintained, operated, and managed by a cloud storage service provider such as Amazon AWS and Google Azure. These cloud data centers rely on low hardware costs that is still designed to tolerate failures without the loss of customer data or service interruption. This choice of data storage will provide huge savings for businesses.
The Cost Saving Cloud: Can Data Storage Continue to Cheapen
The cost of storing data is becoming less dependent upon the cost of the physical technology needed to store the data and more dependent upon the skills and tools to manage the technology. Though the cost of storage is at an all-time low, the abilities of the technology could cause the prices of data storage to fluctuate in the future. Another cost influencers are the storage vendors and service providers themselves. Smaller data storage companies are continuously being bought out and consolidated with larger storage vendors and service providers which gives those larger contenders more control of the market prices.
Even with these possible cost influences in mind, cloud data storage is still the most cost-effective solution for consumers and businesses. Cloud storage allows companies to shift the cost of maintaining hardware, databases, and applications to the tech provider’s experts. The funds that would have been allocated for the costs of on-premises data storage can go to more desirable company affairs.