As data builds up, you need to buy additional hard disks and external storage mediums, or upgrade your online data backup plans. All data storage solutions cost money but costs may largely differ. If you do not use any differentiation, you may end up with unreasonably high costs, which will increase even more with time. It is important to understand the simple principles for organizing data and sorting it roughly into two categories.
Understanding the differences
Some data is by nature changing more than others and you need to access it more frequently. This brings us to two main characteristics, which are the frequency of access and the need for rewriting.
You are accessing and changing your latest work files, like spreadsheets, client database and text documents more frequently than old photos, movies and music files. Let's compare different types of files to see the difference.
If something happens with your work files, you will suffer tremendously during next weeks, your normal workflow is disturbed and you will lose money (or your earnings will be considerably reduced). For work files, having different versions of the same file makes work easier and helps to recover from many errors even if you made some mistakes during editing files by yourself.
It is completely different with photos, music and movies. Most of the stuff is old and you are just stacking them without using files later. If you think realistically, will you open or listen to them during next week or next month? Yes, it would be foolish to delete them because you know that at some point in the future you would love to see them. Another aspect is the originality of data. For example, your travel photos are original and it is you and only you who must take care of archiving them.
Your music collection may mostly consist of copies of copies, which are originally available in original CDs and DVDs you bought some time ago. If the cost of backups is unreasonably high, you either make selection and pick only the best pieces for online archiving or make copies to cheaper media, like DVD-R or something similar.
Sort your data into two or three categories
To make it more clear what type of data you have on your disk, the similar table of different data types will help you to understand what are your true needs for backups. You need good backup for everyday work files, some modern data backup tools, like version handling and comparison can even enchance your productivity. It is absolutely great idea to use modern online data backup services likefor getting frequent online backups and being able to recover your everyday workfiles fast.
On the other hand, you do not need to use daily backups of such old data you will never change. Using the same online data storage solution for your static photo and media files is simply overkill, because the price difference of fast online storage solutions and more archive-type "cold storage" may be as high as ten times.
What is cold storage?
Hot storage is used for frequent and fast access as well as for overwriting and updating data frequently. For modern online storage systems, there are fast disks, which are always on, always plugged in and spinning. Hot data storage consumes energy, hardware costs are higher and they also need more active management, more advanced software solutions, data versioning and integrity checking.
Cold storage is more suitable for large media files, which are rarely accessed and there is little need for updating or rewriting. It is more like archive type storage, where accessing of data takes a little bit longer but cost of 1T is as much as about 8-10 times lower. Take a closer look at typical cold storage provider Zoolz, which provides 1T data storage for just $240 per year.
Sort your data and save on storage costs
Media files, like your holiday photos, movies and music collection takes a huge chunk of your storage space. At same time, you access them rarely, there is no need for daily backups or versioning, and most of the time you will never edit or update them in any way. If you are able to sort your data into "hot" and "cold", you will be able to use different online storage solutions, which help you to save huge amounts of money in the long run.
It is important to note that you do not compromise safety, instead you just set appropriate criteria for storage access. Your data is safe in both cases, whether you keep it in fast online data backup or in cold storage systems - the latter just costs about ten times less and helps to optimize your data storage expenses.