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Definition

historical data

Historical data, in a broad context, is collected data about past events and circumstances pertaining to a particular subject.

By definition, historical data includes most data generated either manually or automatically within an enterprise. Sources, among a great number of possibilities, include press releases, log files, financial reports, project and product documentation and email and other communications.

Storage capacities have increased significantly in recent years and cloud storage has taken some of the burden of storage administration from many enterprises. Businesses are collecting more data than ever and often storing it for longer, both for their own purposes and to satisfy compliance requirements.

Not all historical data is old and much of it must be retained for a significant amount of time. However, a study of more than 3,000 corporate storage infrastructures indicated that up to 40 percent of the capacity of every disk drive within a business holds data that hasn't been referenced in the last month, six months or one year. Because that data storage requires resources to maintain, data life cycle management (DLM) is recommended to try to ensure that data is not maintained without good reason or for longer than necessary and that it is properly archived or disposed of as appropriate.

See also: deep archive

This was last updated in December 2015

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