IT leaders are concerned about storage obsolescence, but lack preservation systems


IT leaders are concerned about storage obsolescence
IT leaders are concerned about storage obsolescence, but a fifth have no preservation plans

With technology advancing quickly, it should be no surprise that business leaders are wary of the pace of change to crucial systems. They do not want to be out of date, but are hesitant to invest in platforms that will soon be obsolete.

An area where long-term reliability is vital is storage of corporate data. Three in five IT decision makers believe that it is important to keep records for at least 50 years, shows a new survey conducted by Crown Records Management; and more than 90 per cent of directors are concerned about being unable to access or read their data in the long term.

Floppy disks today are virtually unused, and even certain file formats like .MOV are in danger of becoming outdated. However, only a third of IT decision makers admitted to regularly reviewing the formats on which their data is held; and 20 per cent say that they don’t have systems in place to preserve electronic information for more than five years.

One organisation that has invested in storing data is CERN, operator of the Large Hadron Collider. Dr Jamie Shiers, head of data preservation, spoke on the topic¬†at a recent event organised by V3‘s sister site, Computing. CERN keeps its data records for decades at a time. The organisation truly understands the danger of obsolescence, and takes many vendors’ assertions with a pinch of salt: it migrates data every two-to-three years, and accesses it at least once a year.


“The death of tape has been greatly exaggerated” – Alex Chen, IBM


Shiers specifically mentioned tape vendors, which claim that their product will last for 30 years. Somewhat surprisingly, Computing found last year that many organisations still rely on analogue tape as a storage medium, for the economic value: as low as a penny per gigabyte. Alex Chen, a director at IBM, said, “The death of tape has been greatly exaggerated.”

Tape might be widespread, but businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud as a place to store their data, trusting that it will be safe for the foreseeable future. However, Dominic Johnstone, head of information management services at Crown, believes that that is a false hope:

“It’s not surprising that cloud storage is so popular: it’s a relatively cheap and safe way to store information. But if the attached systems are not upgraded regularly and there is no lifecycle management in place, there really is no guarantee all that information can be accessed and read when you really need it.”

Check out our top four data and storage protection tips for 2017, to find out how you should be protecting your own data.



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