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Active Archiving - positions organizations to save money, efficiently access data wherever it resides and build strong security

Organizations have recognized the increasing value of data and many of them have turned to active archives to manage their data for rapid search, retrieval, analytics and, cost savings. Learn more about active archives in this new report.

As the world heads into 2021 and the post-COVID-19 digital economy, IT leaders will focus on cost, data analytics and security. Intelligent active archive solutions based on AI will classify massive amounts of data and automatically move it according to user-defined policy from expensive storage tiers to economy tiers. Archived data stays highly accessible and secure.

Containing the costs of rapidly growing unstructured data is critical, leading to mandatory active archiving. Companies recognize the increasing value of data and the need to store ever-increasing volumes for longer periods of time cost-effectively.

AI-based analytics automate file placement across multiple tiers and storage types including flash, hard disk, tape, and the cloud. Data stays immediately accessible for file sharing and business/research analytics to support competitive advantage. Intelligent data tiering and automation have major roles in managing unstructured data at petabyte scale now and exabyte scale in the next five years.

Data security is another critical priority in an era of escalating cybercrime and swelling data repositories. With businesses relying heavily on data collection, usage, distribution, and monetization, securing that data is crucial to protecting business objectives.

Because even when the world crashed to a shutdown-driven standstill, data never stopped.

So, while 2020 was about businesses surviving massive changes in work culture and customer behavior, 2021 is about using data to thrive during permanent changes and market uncertainty.


Active Archiving for a Changing Business World

Unlike backup, which contains multiple copies of files, basic archiving creates a master copy of a file and stores it on a less expensive storage tier. In practice, copies still exist, but the archive saves space since it is not subject to backup.

Active archiving builds on this foundation by providing secure access, data protection, high availability, searchability, fast retrieval and virtually unlimited scalability for unstructured files.

Enterprise Strategy Group defines active archive as “a tiered storage topology/solution that gives IT systems or human end-users access to data through a common, unified file system that automatically retrieves and places that data on the appropriate storage tier.” These storage tiers may be multi-vendor, on-premises and/or the hybrid cloud and comprise different storage media types.

Software intelligence is the key to automatically storing accessible data in the most appropriate storage class according to its use and purpose. Metadata provides searchability and accessibility no matter where data is located, keeping data easily retrievable. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enable trending, access patterns, activity logging, automatic data movement and compliance analysis.



Active archiving is the core technology response to managing fast-growing data for accessibility, security, compliance, and competitive advantage.

Integrates Intelligent Software and Scalable Storage for the Optimal Archive Solution. Unifying active archive is the key to discoverability, actionable analytics and increasing information value.



2020 proved to be an expensive proposition. Only 33% of corporate IT budgets shrunk because of the 2020 challenges, with the majority of dollars spent on mobile access and security enhancements.

A year later, exponential data growth continues to pressure data owners, driving archives to scale from terabytes to petabytes to exabytes within five years. And businesses are asking:

  1.  What is the technology that lets me store massive data and easily find it again?
  2. How can I afford it?

    It’s a good question. Although the cost of secondary storage hardware has been declining year over year, the cost of data management software is rising. It’s not uncommon to see data management software cost more than the storage medium on a per-capacity basis. This large storage management expense is not the easiest sell in the best of times. And given COVID-caused revenue shortfalls, it’s an impossible sell for many companies hit hard by the pandemic.But active archive systems have the answer to both questions.

What is the technology that lets me store massive data and easily find it again?
Active archiving’s data-centric software intelligence simplifies data accessibility across multiple storage mediums and locations. File- and workflow-driven policies automate data movement, migration, data protection, and retention within a transparent and accessible data structure. And air gap technology plus the ability to create and track multiple copies strengthen cybersecurity.

How can I afford it?
Active archive stays highly affordable because it saves you money. The core system intelligence that keeps data highly accessible across multiple storage types and locations also automates data movement from expensive storage tiers to progressively inexpensive ones.

A second opportunity for serious cost savings is data retention. With some retention requirements reaching a century, economic retention savings grow over time.

Of course, anyone can cheaply store files by executing a put-and-forget strategy to a cold storage tier.

But without active archiving’s data intelligence and automation, that data movement occurs manually across multiple sources – assuming IT even knows where the aging files live and can easily locate them by classifying stored files. In this case, manual data movement isn’t easy, and it’s not accurate.

Instead, active archiving uses intelligent data management software to automatically classify and move data across multiple storage tiers and locations. This native intelligence keeps even aging data easily accessible while saving money and time. Since storage intelligence operates across multi-locational storage infrastructure, companies can better capitalize data value and cost-effectively store ever-increasing volumes for longer periods of time.



Without active archives, managing unstructured data throughout its lifecycle is a big expensive undertaking. With active archiving’s AI-driven file and workflow automation, companies save money and time, keep files at any stage of their lifecycle accessible, and stay in compliance. Given exponential data growth that shows no signs of slowing down, active archiving goes from a helpful-to-have to a mission-critical system.

Active archiving works freely across flash, hard disk, tape, and the cloud, so data remains highly accessible and economically stored by individual file value and compliance/retention requirements.

Data-based movement, or data centricity, is central to active archiving. For example, data-driven automation founded on AI technology streamlines the transfer of large data workflows from on-premises to archive tiers on the cloud. Accelerating the process and accurately predicting the cost and time to move the files enables users to make intelligent business decisions and minimize project costs.



Artificial intelligence (AI) will treat the cloud as another storage tier, enabling fast and intelligent data movement between on-premises and cloud tiers.

Few companies will adopt cloud-only active archiving. The hyperscale public clouds – primarily AWS and Azure, with Google Cloud in the running—are popular for low-cost cold storage tiers. However, this economic model only stays that way if the data rarely leaves the tier. Ingress is inexpensive; egress is not—making cold storage unsuitable for retrieving and analyzing archival files.

Hybrid cloud is another matter. Active archiving will use cold storage tiers if IT teams are confident that the archived files do not need to be retrieved. However, they can direct their AI to keep archived data accessible on AWS S3 or Azure Blob. This hybrid infrastructure keeps archived data quickly accessible without the high egress charges of cold storage.

Nevertheless, active archiving systems do not require a hybrid cloud component. Businesses with massive data collections may prefer to keep data accessible on-premises without incurring cloud storage costs.

Tape is the economical alternative to cloud in these cases and offers additional security with air gap defenses. Software-based object storage, compatible with flash, disk, or tape, can also be significantly important in this context.



Organizations moved fast to accommodate COVID-19 realities. Many of them took financial hits in 2020 thanks to lost customer revenue and spending money on critical infrastructure to support newly remote employees. In the urgency to get back up and running, cybersecurity took a dangerous back seat.

Cybercrime is fast becoming a major threat to business operations. The FBI reports that the severity of ransomware attacks increased 47% in 2020, with a 100% spike in the number of attacks since 2019.

By leveraging active archiving’s intelligent data management software, organizations may cost-effectively amp up cybersecurity with multiple geo-distinct copies, encryption, and key management.

Active archives protect against cyberattacks by automatically placing multiple copies of data in multiple geographies, on multiple mediums, including off-site and offline.

Companies quickly adapt to massive market changes with active archiving for centralized data access, analytics, automation, and dynamic scaling.

If yesterday was about saving money on tiering inactive data, today is about deploying active archiving for cost savings, AI-automated data classification and movement, and securing archives. Acting now to adopt and expand active archives will enable businesses to survive fundamental market changes – now and into the future of an uncertain world.

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