Cold Data

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What Does Cold Data Mean?

In the parlance of today’s IT community, cold data is data that is not frequently accessed or actively used. It is data that may get collected and sit for a long time in some virtual container without being retrieved, analyzed or transferred to another part of the system.

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Techopedia Explains Cold Data

Working with cold data, as opposed to warm or hot data, involves some specific philosophies. In general, cold data is easier to deal with, because there are not as many requirements regarding synchronized results, or immediate input-output processes that have to be accommodated. Cold storage often involves setting up a durable archive – a place where data can stay safely for the long term, but where it is available when it is needed.

Some experts create specific thresholds for cold data, for instance, data that is dormant for between 91 and 180 days, or data that sits longer than six months or a year. In many cases where data does not move, the related outcomes are less labor-intensive and a company or professional may choose not to perform some task because it is not necessary. Sometimes administrators may use metrics like “last use” to assess the frequency of data activity. Companies may use these metrics as part of research to consider clearing out old data to make room in finite storage systems.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.