Backup Retention and the Shift to Cloud-based Data Storage

July 23, 2021

Credit unions: let’s talk data storage.

Every day, enormous amounts of data are being stored, and the volume of data being produced keeps growing (it’s enough petabytes to make anyone’s head spin).

Historically, data has been stored in on-premise data centre servers, and at-rest data has to be kept for several years. In the banking industry, financial institutions are required to keep a huge amount of customer information and enterprise-level operational data. Even small credit unions are faced with maintaining large stores of archived and active data.

Because of the volume of data we are now seeing credit unions produce, running a physical data centre poses some big challenges when it comes to scalability and long-term sustainability. Even credit unions who are experiencing steady and predictable growth will eventually need more physical data storage capacity under the current model: as you gain more members, hire more employees, open new branches, introduce new tools and software – you’ll need more and more space to keep all of the resulting data.

This means more servers, more space to keep those servers, more IT expertise to maintain that infrastructure – and the list goes on. Never mind undergoing a merger, where in addition to the perks of inheriting a ton of new members, you also inherit a boat load of historical data that you now have to deal with.

In fact, in a 2021 whitepaper, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that “on average, enterprises indicate that they expect 30% data growth annually (primarily unstructured). Using this growth rate as a general guide, we can assume that an organization managing 10PB of data today will store upward of 13PB of data the following year. And this pace of growth is not expected to slow down.”

Data servers resting on clouds in blue in a cloudy sky

All of this boils down to one thing: physical data centres make data storage far more expensive and inefficient than it needs to be. Credit unions shouldn’t have to backup data to a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) and physical tapes. There has to be a better way to manage data – and there is.

You’ve probably heard us talk about our data center modernization and moving to a hybrid cloud environment. Through that program, we’ve begun to evaluate our data storage and backup retention strategies for sustainability and scalability. During that investigation, a solution called ICOS quickly became the answer to solve virtually all credit union data storage needs and we are pleased to be offering this data storage option to credit unions through our product suite, backed by the power of by IBM.

So what is ICOS exactly? Here is a brief history:

  • In 2015, IBM acquired Cleversafe, a data storage vendor that was well ahead of its time in anticipating big data and the moves companies would be making to cloud-based data storage. The acquisition allowed IBM to significantly expand their cloud strategy to include a hybrid cloud model. 

  • Fast track to five years later, and IBM has rebranded this service offering to IBM Cloud Object Storage. This object-based public cloud storage service gives companies access to the data storage capacity they desperately need, for a fraction of the cost of physical data centres.

  • IBM Cloud Object Storage (ICOS) was built to solve the inevitable data storage issues organizations are already running into: capacity and cost. As the IDC puts it, “while the perceived value of enterprise data may be limitless, enterprise IT budgets are not. Many IT administrators find themselves stuck in this sort of data sustainability paradox, where their storage budget is stagnant, or shrinking as a proportion of total IT budget, but their organization's storage capacity is growing at a much higher rate.”.

What does all of this mean for credit unions?

With our new data storage solution options, our credit union clients will get:

  • Backups to ICOS, allowing Celero to do away with virtual tape libraries (VTL’s) while retaining immediate access to credit union backups
  • The same daily 15-day backup retention you’re used to as default for all of your servers
  • The option for daily 45-day backup retention and long-term backup retention on select servers
  • Retention of decommissioned server backups for 90 days
  • Core Banking database backup to automatically back-up your on-premise data to the cloud for long-term retention

When coupled with a file retention strategy using software like SharePoint for local file retrieval and retention, credit unions can be well-positioned to meet growing demand for increasing data storage.

We are always happy to chat all things technology with credit unions. Reach out to your account executive to learn more about our ICOS offering and our backup retention strategy.


Related posts: 

Four Ways Cloud Capabilities are Changing the way Credit Unions do Business 

Celero’s Data Centre Modernization 

Why Every Credit Union Should Use Office 365 

Office 365 Q&A With Mohsin Syed: Things to Know About Moving to the Cloud 


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Backup Retention and the Shift to Cloud-based Data Storage