As the world continues to generate data at an ever-accelerating rate, data storage has become more important than ever. Despite a steady reduction in storage costs per gigabyte, rapid data growth has caused data storage costs to skyrocket.

We’re going to examine the factors that drive up the cost of data storage and give you four helpful data storage questions to begin analyzing your situation.

Data storage costs

Data Storage Cost Factors

The price of storing data has been compared to the price of buying a home. It’s simply a matter of figuring out how much you have and where it is going to be located, just like a home’s price is mostly determined by size and location. While those two factors matter, we also want to look at three additional hidden factors that contribute to data storage costs: buying in bulk, storage methods, and employee hours.

Buying in Bulk

Obviously the more data you have, the more you’re going to spend on storage. However, data does follow the standard trend of becoming more affordable as you increase the amount. The price of a massive 4 terabyte drive is not significantly more expensive than one half its size. Fleshing out your servers with larger drives allows you to buy storage in bulk.

Storage Methods

Today there are more options than ever for storage. You used to only have server racks full of hard drives. Now you can opt for cloud storage or other storage forms besides traditional hard drives. Solid-state drives and blisteringly fast Optane storage modules can also prove useful in some lines of work.

Employee Hours

This is the hidden cost that few IT professionals take into consideration. If your storage solution is not efficient, then your employees are going to waste time searching for files or dealing with bad data. We’ll explain how you can minimize this potential pitfall.

4 Biggest Questions That Determine Your Data Storage Costs

1. How Much is Your Data Growing?

Data growingThe growth rate of your data is the most important factor to consider when calculating storage costs. While you can take a glance at your server’s administrator panel and get a clear idea of the total weight of all of your data, there are more pieces to the puzzle. You also need to ask how much data you will have in the future. In addition, the types of data that you store will have a direct impact on the total load in the system. Text-based files, Excel tables, and databases generally do not take up massive amounts of storage. However, if you do creative work, then your files are likely very large. The average file size on the system is a good metric to use when considering plans for the future. Some questions you can ask about your data growth include:

  • At what rate do I expect my data to grow over the next few years?
  • Are there any mergers, acquisitions or divestitures looming on the horizon?
  • What types of data do I currently store?
  • What is the average size of my data?

The Aparavi Platform has an easy-to-use dashboard that allows you to quickly gain insight and visibility into your company’s unstructured data across multiple storage locations (cloud, core, hybrid, or edge). In addition, The Platform consistently assesses your data and updates any changes, making it easy to track data growth and forecast your storage needs.

2. How Much of Your Data Is Necessary?

Before upgrading, you should pause and consider how much of your total data is actually worth keeping. A common rule of thumb is that 80% of your business depends on 20% of your data. That means the vast majority of your data probably isn’t contributing much to your company’s results. It is important to ask yourself:

  • Do I know what types of data we have across all storage locations?
  • Is it easy to find our company’s business-critical information?
  • What is our company’s data retention policy?
  • Do we perform frequent audits or remediation to minimize our storage and reduce costs?
  • Do I have the technology in place to automate that data retention policy?

ROT Data

Redundant, outdated, and trivial data can actually make up the majority of the files on your servers. Some estimates put it at a whopping 85%. Imagine building a storage solution around what most would consider junk. Clearly, cleanup is in order. Aparavi has designed its platform to put this issue to rest once and for all by identifying ROT data and making it easy to remove from your system.

3. What Storage Methods Do You Use?

Data storageOnce you know how much data you have and how much you can afford to throw away, the next question is where to put it. Data storage today is more diverse than ever, but how do you choose what’s best for your company? Is the trusty server cabinet still viable? Ask yourself:

  • Where do I want to keep my business-critical data?
  • Where are high risk data types currently being stored?
  • How many backups do I need, and where do those backups live?
  • How do we currently store archived data?

Cloud Storage

The cloud aims to replace your local storage solution by simply having everything distributed across data centers. The upside is less up-front costs and scalability. You pay for what you use. However, you need to deal with your ROT data beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for pointless storage.

Better Backup Options

Regardless of the solution you choose, you still need reliable backups. Servers can provide this function, but you may want to consider an older technology that has quietly improved over the years. Tape-based storage gives you unsurpassed storage prices while keeping your data safely offline.

Modern tape solutions include software that creates logs of what files are on each tape, which means you can still search through your backups and quickly find any file you need.

The Aparavi Platform helps you find and optimize your data, no matter where it’s located. Whether your data is stored on-premises, on endpoints, in the cloud, or at the edge, Aparavi helps you intelligently manage it and get important insights into what you have.

4. How Accessible Is Your Data?

Finally we come to the human component. Your data storage choices will have a direct effect on your workers. We all know the frustration of a sluggish server or a weak internet connection limiting cloud access. If your data is hard to get to, it’s going to keep your workers from being productive. And if your data is full of ROT, that will only slow them down more. Can you answer the following questions?:

  • Who currently has access to each storage location, and who should have access?
  • How long does it take employees to find the data they need?

Search Time

The time it takes for workers to find the information they need has steadily increased. In 2012, it was estimated at 1.8 hours a day, but now the IDC suggests it’s closer to 2.5 hours a day. You would think we’d get faster and more efficient, but data growth clearly has had the opposite effect.

Search time is also compounded by ROT data. When your workers have to check multiple files to determine which one is the right one, time is being wasted.

A Smarter Solution

Aparavi’s intelligent data management platform solves these problems and can greatly reduce your data storage costs. By analyzing all your files and identifying ROT data, you can easily trim the fat from your data and make your employees more productive. It works with every kind of storage option. Call Aparavi today to find out more about how our platform can bring your data costs down and drive up productivity.