Every organization uses the cloud in some capacity these days. Cloud storage mitigates the risk of accidentally losing, corrupting, or destroying company files. This is because cloud service providers are responsible for the uptime, security, and backups of anything they store. While one benefit of using Cloud Storage is that you only pay for what you use, this can add up to a significant monthly or yearly expense because many companies store so much data.
Luckily, some cloud storage is much cheaper than others. Over the years, cloud storage has evolved into two distinct categories: hot cloud storage and cold cloud storage. Cold is much cheaper than hot and can save your company a significant amount of money. This article will dive deep into why that’s the case.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Cold Cloud Storage?
- What Should You Store in Cold Cloud?
- Why Is Cold Cloud Storage Cheaper?
- How Do You Keep Cold Cloud Storage Compliant?
What Is Cold Cloud Storage?
No one needs all of their files all of the time. Some files we need every day, some every month, some every year, and some we don’t know how often we’ll need. That’s where the difference between hot and cold cloud storage comes into play. Hot storage is for the files you frequently need, while cold storage is for those you don’t.
There are no set industry definitions for either hot or cold cloud storage, so cloud service providers define each a little differently. They might even offer options in between the two. For example, Google has three cold storage services: Archive, Coldline, and Nearline, for files you need to access less than once a year, less than once a quarter, and less than once a month, respectively.
Cold storage is much cheaper than hot storage. For example, Amazon’s EFS File System Backup costs $0.05/GB/month in warm storage, but only $0.01/GB/month in cold storage. The downside of cold storage is that your files aren’t readily accessible. Depending on how cold your storage is, it can take a few minutes to a few days before you can access your files. The cheaper it is, the longer it will take to retrieve your files.
What Should You Store in Cold Cloud?
Hot storage is for business-critical files. The files you need for the day-to-day operations of your company. Urgent invoices, recent messaging logs, content that’s being worked on, etc. All the files your employees to do their job properly. Cold cloud storage is for the files you don’t need often. This could include:
- Old project files;
- Snapshots and backups;
- Financial information of a few years old;
- Healthcare information;
- Files you need to store for regulatory or compliance reasons;
- Files meant for digital preservation;
- Old video footage.
Each company uses its files in different ways, so it will ultimately be up to you to decide what you want to store in the cold cloud. But it’s important to do this exercise because you could cut your cloud costs at least in half if you’re diligent about it.
There’s one caveat to cold storage that you need to pay attention to. Some cold storage services charge a retrieval fee. This means that it’s not a good economic decision to put your files in cold storage while still hoping to access them frequently.
Why Is Cold Cloud Storage Cheaper?
Cold cloud storage is cheaper because it takes longer to access. As an illustration, if hot storage is the SSD in your laptop, cold storage is an external hard disk drive that you’ve stored in a locker. The SSD is much faster, but it’s also more expensive. The HDD is cheaper, but you need to go to the locker, unlock it, and connect it to your device before you can access your files.
Similarly, hot storage runs on the fastest servers. Access is a matter of milliseconds. Maintaining those servers is significantly more expensive when compared to cold storage, which often runs on servers that could be totally offline. If not offline, cold cloud storage is often placed on slower equipment or on servers that are further away from where you’re accessing it.
How Do You Keep Cold Cloud Storage Compliant?
Cold cloud storage isn’t inherently less or more secure than hot cloud storage. That’s why compliance is done in much the same way. You stay compliant by keeping access restricted to the right people, creating an audit trail, and checking with your cloud provider for their specific security regulations.
Don’t make the mistake of putting all your files in hot cloud storage. Instead, determine which files you don’t need as much and store those in a cold cloud storage service. In exchange for some waiting time to retrieve your files, you can save your company a significant chunk of money.
Need help deciding where to save money in the cloud? Our Cloud Cost Management team has the tools and experience to prepare your company for long-term savings in the cloud. Get in touch today for a no-obligation conversation on how your company can save.