The True Cost of Traditional File Storage
Published Apr 27 2023 09:00 AM 5,544 Views

Hello everyone!


It is my pleasure to feature the first of three blog posts by @DarrenKomprise from our valued partner Komprise. We have been thrilled to see the great work Komprise has done with our customers over the last several years - especially in the Storage Migration Program. Today, we are thrilled to announce that Komprise has created an Azure-exclusive solution for our joint customers to help drive down the cost of on-premises, and Azure-based, file storage. Komprise Intelligent Tiering for Azure can help you save up to 70% of the total cost of your file storage. Komprise Intelligent Tiering for Azure is built to help you understand what your users are storing, who owns it, and what the cost of its current location is versus a more economical Azure Storage tier would be. Make informed decisions, configure policies, avoid vendor lock-in, and SAVE MONEY. Learn more in this three part series.


Part 2: Leverage the Cloud to Cut File Data Costs: Comparison of Alternatives

Part 3 - How to save 70% on File Data Costs 


Disclaimer: This post includes content from a Microsoft Partner and links to external content.


@Karl Rautenstrauch 


Part 1 of 3
The True Cost of Traditional File Storage: Why is File Data Expensive?


We’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to storing and managing unstructured data. With a focus on lowering costs and optimizing cloud spend, this series of posts will cover 3 top of mind topics for enterprise IT teams today:


  1. The True Cost of File Data: Why is file data expensive?
  2. Leverage the Cloud to Cut File Data Costs: Comparison of alternatives
  3. How to Save 70% on File Data Costs: Cost analysis of Komprise Intelligent Tiering for Azure in hybrid cloud and all-cloud scenarios


Let us start by getting a better understanding of the high costs of file storage. Unstructured data, which is any data that does not fit neatly into a database, is now projected by IDC to be over 80% of business information. Unstructured data can be in a variety of types – from documents to audio, video files, sensor and IoT data at the edge, and is typically stored as files and objects. IDC projects unstructured data to be 180 zettabytes (or 180 million petabytes) by 2025 and this data is growing particularly fast in certain industries. Here are some examples:


  • Life Sciences: Imaging, genome sequencing, research
  • Healthcare: Imaging, PACS, digital pathology
  • Media & Entertainment: Post-production, animation, VFX, content delivery
  • Government: CAD/CAM, GIS, bodycam surveillance
  • Oil and Gas: Seismic data, compliance
  • Transportation: Autonomous vehicles
  • Financial Services: Claims data, call center recordings


File Data and Digital Transformation

Unstructured data, which is often stored as files or objects, is commonly referred to as file data. This is the terminology we will use for this series of posts. File data has been underutilized and even mismanaged as it has grown so quickly, yet it has the potential to massively impact digital transformation across many use cases:


  • AI and machine learning (ML) applications train on file data and are increasingly run in the cloud,
  • Cloud analytics and big data applications require file data to be ingested efficiently,
  • Corporate and user data in virtual desktops and departmental shares or collaboration repositories are becoming cloud-based,
  • Application-generated data such as instrument / genomic data, self-driving car data, design automation files and media assets are file-based and getting digitized.


File Data Consumes 30 to 50% of IT Budgets

Businesses and public sector enterprises often retain file data for decades because it contains business value such as customer insights, genomic patterns, machine learning training data, and compliance information. Because of its large volume, variety and velocity of growth, file data is expensive to store, backup and manage. In fact, most IT organizations spend 30 to 50% of their budgets on file data storage and backups, as shown in the 2022 Komprise State of Unstructured Data Management Report.  


Storage is Only 25% of File Data Costs

As every IT organization looks to do more with less, managing file data growth while cutting costs and reducing administrative burden sounds like an impossible task, especially when you consider that file storage often accumulates from different vendors scattered across your datacenters and departments. So why not just delete data? As analytics platforms scale and governmental or industry data retention regulations continue to emerge, simply purging data is not an option. Moreover, when looking at the storage cost of file data, you need to consider that the cost of file data is at least three to four times higher than the cost of the file storage itself. The reason is that beyond storage, IT teams must also protect it with backups and replicate it for disaster recovery.




File Storage




Mirror for DR (2nd site copy of FS + Snapshots)


2 to 3 backups (cheaper storage + backup sw)




The true costs of file data storage.


The File Storage Cost Cutting Imperative

As file data growth accelerates, managing data growth while cutting the costs of file data storage and backup is an enterprise IT priority. Here are the common drivers for cost cutting:

  • Delay Storage Refresh: Can you extend the life of existing storage investments and break the endless cycle of three-to-five-year storage refresh?
  • Cut Storage Expansion Costs: Can you manage data growth while cutting costs by reducing less additional capacity needs?
  • Add Ransomware Protection While Shrinking Backups: Is it possible to reduce backup and DR costs while maintaining the right data protection and addressing potential ransomware threats?
  • Improve Sustainability: In addition to a mandate to modernize your infrastructure or move to the cloud to reduce costs, have you set carbon footprint and efficiency goals?
  • Unlock Data Value: Can you leverage cloud data services such as machine learning and analytics to unlock the latent value of your unstructured data?
  • Fit Growth into Tight Budgets: With data volumes growing at 30%+ year-over-year and IT budgets staying mostly flat, can you find ways to squeeze more growth into flat budgets?
  • Modernize and Transform: As you transform to the cloud, how do you ensure efficiency and cost optimization while adopting the latest innovations?


The good news is that you can save 70% of your file data storage and backup costs by understanding the full cost of file data and effectively managing the data lifecycle. In my next post, we’ll dig into data tiering options and show you how you can not only do more with less but save significantly on your file data storage costs with the right data management strategy.


This post continues in Part 2 - 

Leverage the Cloud to Cut File Data Costs: Comparison of Alternatives



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