Obsolescence is the technological equivalent of quicksand. Evolving technology makes data created on obsolete systems unreadable. Experts say that timeframe for preservation of digitized data is reducing daily and the current timeframe is between two to five years! So, it is wholly possible that your enterprise data may vanish into cyberspace without a trace, just because your backup systems have become obsolete and the data is no longer readable using the newer technologies available in the market.

Budget constrained small and medium enterprises would be hard put to upgrade their systems at regular intervals to keep up with technological innovations. Even large enterprises with vast networks of computers and servers would baulk at the expense involved. So, what can organizations do to ensure that your data remains readable and available despite technological changes?

One solution that is being offered to counter growing obsolescence of hardware and software is computing in the cloud. Cloud computing services include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) options.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings are targeted towards those enterprises that want to use the latest infrastructure services without investing capital in creating infrastructure themselves. The servers, routers, switches and all network components can be shared with other users to create economies of scale or requisitioned privately by the enterprise. The vendor ensures that the infrastructure is kept up to date and the latest networking technologies are made available to its customers at the cost of a subscription.

Software as a Service (SaaS) makes available software for a variety of purposes on usage basis. The latest versions of the software with backward compatibility are made available using public, private or hybrid clouds. Infrastructure required for data storage and retrieval are integral to the service and data replication, mirroring, deduplication and compression ensure that data remains highly available, readable and absolutely secure.

The technology quicksand no longer seems so threatening. Data preservation and security is core to these services and the business model ensures that customers get the best out of the bargain. Worries about obsolescence of infrastructure facilities or backward compatibility of software can be vanished into cloud space instead of data into cyberspace. Strategies for infrastructure management and software upgrades can be safely left in the hands of cloud vendors who have made a business of it.