Managed services: Striking the right balance between tape and cloud


Data restoration and migration services enable organisations to better manage growing data volumes while maximising it budget

10 September 201912 mins
Managed Services: Striking The Right Balance Between Tape And Cloud

Data restoration and migration services enables organisations to better manage growing data volumes while maximising IT budget

We’re in the midst of data overload.

Worldwide data creation is expected to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025, according to a study by IDC — an astounding 61% compounded annual growth rate from 2019. Approximately 80% of this data will become inactive legacy data that is never accessed or used again. However, this data must be kept available and accessible due to ever-changing regulations that require organisations to retain data anywhere from four years to forever.

With data volumes poised to mushroom, companies must come to grips with data management — accounting for privacy, compliance, and security issues, while ensuring data is continuously available to the business.

The urgent need for improved data management

“Data is created in so many ways and is no longer always consistently ingested, standardised and documented (if it ever was!),” writes Nancy Couture, Competency Director, Data Governance, Datasource Consulting, in CIO magazine. “As a result, organisations find it difficult to know what data exists, where it resides, what it means, and how it’s being modified and leveraged.”

Companies are increasingly adopting multi-cloud environments. Gartner forecasts that 75% of organisations will have deployed a hybrid or multiple cloud model by 2020. While there are viable reasons for data to be stored in the cloud, there are also compelling reasons — including added data protection against security threats from ransomware and malware and driving TCO on long-term data retention — to store legacy data on tape.

The CIO’s office is tasked to better manage data sprawl and data overload. This includes understanding different types of data, and where and how to store and migrate these differing formats. It is incumbent on IT to:

  • Develop an accurate storage tiering between cloud and tape
  • Simplify on-demand access to data
  • Assess and implement a cost-effective and secure approach for long data retention, backup/archiving, and IT asset disposition

Considerations for managing data

A comprehensive approach to data management ensures that businesses can securely create, store, access, protect, and dispose of data with full confidence — no matter where it resides.

Even though many companies are migrating data to the cloud, tape has an important role to play and is not going away. But imagine, for example, managing a large cloud migration project and having to scour thousands of tapes to provide information for a litigation or to comply with a customer request to be removed from all data records. Without a full data management plan, that discovery process could take hours, days, or weeks depending on the complexity of the IT environment.

A holistic data management strategy should account for both physical and digital data and provide the following:

  • ACCESSIBILITY. Companies must be able to easily access and restore specific data.
  • SECURITY AND DATA PROTECTION. Considerations include protecting data in transit and at rest, as well as backup and recovery solutions to minimise disruption from downtime and costs of a cyber attack.
  • COST EFFECTIVENESS. Intelligently determine where data belongs — whether on premises, in the cloud, or a combination — while reducing the cost of managing legacy infrastructure.
  • PROPER DISPOSITION AND DISPOSAL. The company’s approach should consider secure IT Asset disposition — whether through destruction or remarketing (selling) of end-of-usefulness assets, such as cell phones, laptops and other IT devices, in a secure manner.

Managed services: a holistic strategy

“Unless your company was born today amid the cloud-first era, it’s likely that you have legacy data on tape that must be retained, as well as active data, often in the cloud, that requires fast access,” says Paul Luppino, Director, Data Restoration and Migration Services at Iron Mountain.

This mix can make it difficult to manage data — especially within budget and IT resource constraints, such as limited staffing, he says.

“The big question many companies are asking,” Luppino says, “is how to migrate data to the cloud while cost-effectively retaining archived, legacy data on premises.”

This question is being magnified by growing data volumes and complicated by regulations on secure storage and disposition.

Managed services enables organisations to obtain the best of both worlds, while also taking a responsible and cost-effective approach to data sprawl across multiple locations and formats. Data restoration and migration services bridges the gap between physical and digital information. It helps organisations migrate, locate, and secure data stored on tape — as well as move identified information to the cloud — bulk or on demand.

By adopting managed services, organisations may be surprised to learn it often improves total cost of ownership rather than increases it. Budget is often improved by minimising software license renewals, reducing IT staff resource time on tape management (so they can work on more business essential activities); and saving space/storage costs incurred by tape.

For those businesses that have strategies to keep legacy environments in-house, it is still essential to be equipped to provide fast response for event driven, critical restoration needs such as litigation, cyber attacks, or disasters.

Whether retiring legacy environments or needing assurance for when urgent restoration needs arise, it is critical to identify a restoration vendor that offers flexible options to meet unique business and budgetary needs.


“Data sprawl, legacy tape, growing data volumes, the need for backup and recovery — all of these are important considerations,” Luppino says. “It’s critical to intelligently migrate some data to the cloud, while efficiently managing archived tape data.”

That’s why a managed services provider makes sense. The right vendor will help shape a data management strategy that fits across the entire data lifecycle, while ensuring accessibility, security, cost effectiveness, and even proper disposal of tapes, hardware, and other IT assets.

Iron Mountain Data Restoration and Migration Services offers the best of both cloud and tape worlds. Find more information at: