You have heard of Big Data. But that phrase sounds tame when you consider the rate at which “big” is getting bigger. It is startling to hear that 90% of the data in the world has been produced in the last two years. Or, that demand for storage capacity is rising 80-100% every year. And we have not even begun to hit our stride. The data deluge will not just be big — it is going to be extreme.

Conventional storage is dead. Tiering is now the most powerful tool available for SMBs facing extreme data growth. Here are 7 simple ways of data tiering:

1. ADDING BOXES ISN’T THE ANSWER

Dealing with extreme data is not about housing it all. It is about determining what data is most useful to your business, and then determining exactly where “speed meets need.” Put simply, the data you rarely interact with should not utilize the same high-performance solution that gives you instant access to your day-to-day, business-critical data. This kind of dynamic, intelligent management of data is something conventional storage was never designed to offer.

2. THERE IS NO BAD DATA, JUST BAD MANAGEMENT

Tiering is about qualifying data in terms of how often it needs to be accessed or retrieved—not how long ago it was captured or produced. Let go of the idea of “old” vs. “new” data and instead consider how you want to use it.

3. DATA CAN BE TRANSFORMED INTO CONTENT

Data that sits inert does not do anything for your business. But when you can actively access and mine your data repeatedly in new ways, it becomes content—a living, breathing asset you can leverage to suit your business needs.

Data Analysis Storage Information Concept

4. YOU CAN MOVE TO TIERED STORAGE CONFIDENTLY

Thanks to the increasing sophistication of meta tagging and data indexing technologies, it is easier than ever to automate the classification and targeting of your data. The best part is you will not sacrifice data visibility or accessibility, even when migrating data from one storage device to another.

5. YOU’RE PROTECTED

You are likely to face downtime sometime. When you do, a tiered archive will have you back up and running fast. It maximizes security and efficiency by enabling multiple, redundant layers of data and content protection in a single package. Deduplication and encryption also ensure movement to the cloud with the highest level of security possible.

6. TIERING BOOSTS LONG-TERM BUSINESS HEALTH

Tiered storage has an overall lower purchase price, lower monthly license fees and lower maintenance costs (freeing up storage management resources for more critical initiatives). Next-generation storage solutions also use less power than conventional storage options. Most importantly, these benefits scale as your business grows (as your data and content pool gets bigger) thanks in large part to better utilization of all your storage assets.

7. IT HELPS THE BOTTOM LINE

Establishing intelligent, proactive data management habits makes good business sense. You owe it to your organization to do everything possible to close the gap between burgeoning archive data, open new opportunities and lessen the toll on your IT budget. In the coming years, the move to tiered storage will look less like a TCO improvement and more like a strategic imperative.