Savvy Tips Guru

Learn About Cold Data Storage & How it Works

cold data storage

Cold data storage is like putting away things you don’t use often. It’s about saving data for a long time without always having it ready to use. Instead of keeping the data always available, cold storage keeps it hidden.

Cold data

Cold data is information that isn’t used very often or isn’t needed for everyday tasks. It includes things like old records, archives, or backup files that businesses keep around for rules or just in case they need them later. Unlike hot data, which gets used and changed a lot, cold data sits quietly until it’s needed for special reasons, like following the law or checking old records.

You can store cold data on cold storage hard drives, which are special devices made to store lots of data for a long time. They’re built to last and be reliable, rather than super fast.  They’re often used together with cold data storage systems to keep inactive data safe and follow rules about keeping records.

You can also use cold storage cloud services to store cold data. These services offer ways to store lots of cold data securely and without spending too much money. These services use big data centers away from the business to keep data safe and accessible.

How does cold data storage work?

Cold data storage works by keeping data tucked away until it’s needed. Unlike hot storage, where data is always ready to go, cold storage keeps things quiet until someone asks for it. This helps save energy and money because the storage system stays inactive most of the time.

When someone or something wants to access cold data, they send a request to the storage system. Then, the system wakes up the data from its dormant state and makes it available. This process might take longer than hot storage because the data has to be found, activated, and sent over. But for data that isn’t used often, this delay isn’t usually a big deal.

Cold storage systems often use tricks like data compression and moving data to different storage levels to make things more efficient and cheaper. They might also have rules about when data should be moved around automatically, depending on how often it’s used.

What is it usually used for?

There are many uses for cold data storage. Here are some examples of what we put there: 

  1. Old Records: Sometimes, businesses need to keep old papers, like bills or records of things they did in the past. They don’t use these papers much, but they keep them just in case they need them one day.
  2. Important Papers: Different businesses have to keep certain papers for a while because it’s the law. These might be contracts or licenses. Cold data storage keeps these papers safe and doesn’t cost too much.
  3. Backup Copies: Imagine making a copy of all your important files, just in case something bad happens to your computer. These copies are called backups. Cold data storage is like a safe place to keep these copies until we need them.
  4. Old Stuff: Sometimes, we have things we don’t use anymore, like old projects or papers from a long time ago. Cold data storage is a good place to keep these things safe, even though we don’t need them often.

What are the pros and cons of cold data storage?

It’s important to know the good and not-so-good things about using cold data storage


  • Saving Money: Cold storage is cheaper than hot storage. It costs less to keep data in cold storage, especially when there’s a lot of it.
  • Easy to Grow: Cold storage can get bigger when needed. So, as a business gets more data, it can easily add more space to store it without spending a lot of money.
  • Keeping Data Safe: Cold storage makes sure data stays safe for a long time. This is useful for businesses that need to keep records for legal reasons or for a long time.


  • It Takes Longer to Get Data: Getting data from cold storage takes longer than from hot storage. It can be slow, especially for large amounts of data. This might be okay if the data isn’t needed often.
  • Not Always Accessible: Cold storage might not work well for data that needs to be used a lot or right away. It’s more about saving money than making data easy to get to quickly. So, if data is needed a lot or right away, cold storage might not be the best choice.
  • Hard to Manage: Managing cold storage can be tricky. Businesses need to plan carefully to keep data safe and follow the rules. This might include making rules about when to keep data and who can use it. It’s also important to keep an eye on the storage system to make sure data doesn’t get lost or broken.

Cold storage vs. hot storage—which do you need?

When deciding whether to use cold storage or hot storage, you need to think about your data needs and how you use it. Each type of storage has its benefits and works best for different situations. Let’s take a closer look at what to think about when choosing between cold and hot storage:

Cold storage

  • For Data You Don’t Use Often: Cold storage is great for storing lots of data that you don’t need to access much. This includes things like old records, backup files, and data you need to keep for rules or history.
  • Saves Money: Cold storage costs less than hot storage. If you have a lot of data that you hardly ever need, using cold storage can save you a lot of money over time.
  • Keeps Data Safe for a Long Time: Cold storage makes sure your data stays safe for a long time. If you need to keep data for a long time for rules or history, cold storage is a good way to do it.

Hot storage

  • For Quick Access: Hot storage is made for data you need to get too fast. If your work depends on getting data quickly for important things, hot storage is better.
  • For Data, You Use a Lot: Hot storage is good for data you need all the time. If you use apps or tools that need data all the time, hot storage makes sure the data is ready when you need it, without waiting.
  • Works Fast: Hot storage is faster than cold storage. If your apps need to work fast and not wait for data, hot storage can do that 

Cold data storage has its uses

Using cold data storage is a smart and money-saving way for businesses to handle data they don’t use often. It helps cut storage costs, keeps data safe for a long time, and follows rules. But it’s important to think about what kind of storage you need based on how you use your data. Cold data storage is a good choice for businesses looking to save money and keep lots of data safe for a long time.


  • RJ Sinclair

    RJ is our resident money guru, with a knack for keeping finances neat and organized. With previous experience as a budget manager in supply chain companies, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Count on RJ as a trustworthy source for valuable money tips and advice to help you make the most of your financial journey.