More than half of data stored is inactive, report finds

A survey of more than 250 IT professionals from cloud storage provider TwinStrata has found that more than half of organisations have at least half their data as inactive, taking up valuable storage space.

The report defines inactive or passive data as data which has been untouched for 60 days, and found that 56% of those polled had more than half their data inactive. A quarter (22%) of respondents added that three quarters of their stored data was inactive.

Digging down further into the survey data the researchers found that 59% of companies who stored more than a petabyte of data had more than half of that data inactive – a slight increase. “Given the rate at which data creation overall has increased, we expect these numbers to grow,” the report notes.

There were other interesting findings in the report. Storage area networks (SAN) are the most popular places to store inactive data (53%), closely followed by network-attached storage (51%). These were far ahead of less expensive, more archaic methods such as disk-based backup (42%) and tapes (36%). Private and public cloud got 19% and 13% share respectively.

Perhaps less surprisingly, SAN is used more extensively by large-employee companies. 89% of firms with more than 1000 employees deployed SAN to store their data, compared with just 16% of organisations with 100 workers or less. The opposite effect can be noticed with private and public cloud; 37% (private) and 39% (public) for <100 employee firms compared with 25% and 32% respectively.

“Considering the need for performance and accessibility with primary data, it is not surprising to see that so many organisations rely on SANs and NAS for day-to-day business,” the report observes. Similarly, the most popular option when companies run out is to simply buy more (79%), as opposed to deleting unused data (52%) – which is at odds with the amount of inactive data out there – or replacing their existing system with a bigger and better model.

Of course there are plenty of cloud storage options out there at the moment, with even Apple entering the market in recent months. New players like CloudGOO and OneBigDrive offer compatibility for consumers to fuse all their cloud storage accounts together – but if this TwinStrata report is anything to go by, organisations and consumers should think about spring cleaning their current accounts.

Take a look at the full report here.

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