Listen to Marvin McNett, Principal Developer Manager from Microsoft as he explains the reasons tape is being used today in the Microsoft data center for its archival storage tier. View the video here:
According to the Information Storage Industry Consortium, the total data rate for tape is improving by 22.5% MB/sec per year. One concept that is driving this capacity increase in the tape industry is RAIT (Redundant Arrays of Independent Tape). RAIT is ideal for large files that need massive amounts of throughput such as in a disaster recovery scenario where you need the ability to move your whole data center electronically to another location.
In this video, Fred Moore of Horison Information Strategies explains how RAIT works.
Vice President of Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc
I recently returned from a speaking opportunity at the PRISM Conference held in Miami on May 8thand 9th where I spoke on the Role of Tape in Today’s Modern Offsite Storage Center. In addition to holding and protecting valuable data tape cartridges for archive, backup, and disaster recovery applications, offsite vaults also play a crucial role in providing an “air gap” against cyber criminals and their alarming malware and ransomware variants. Because of tape’s powerful value proposition, it provides this functionality particularly well. It’s easily portable, has the lowest total cost of ownership, is the most reliable storage medium today, and has long archival life and high capacity.
Whitehead Cracks the Code on Cost-Effective Storage
Whitehead Institute is a world-renowned non-profit research institution dedicated to improving human health through basic biomedical research. By cultivating a deeply collaborative culture and enabling the pursuit of bold, creative inquiry, Whitehead fosters paradigm-shifting scientific achievement. For more than 30 years, Whitehead faculty have delivered breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of biology and accelerated development of therapies for such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and certain cancers.
The Whitehead Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass., takes on some of the most complex and important medical and scientific challenges ever presented to mankind. In the 33 years since its founding, it has become one of the world’s leading molecular biology and genetics research institutes, employing multiple National Medal of Science winners. In fact, the Whitehead Institute was a key contributor to the 13-year Human Genome Project, a groundbreaking study that unlocked an entirely new understanding of how humans react to viruses, bacteria and drug therapy.
Research at the Whitehead Institute generates an enormous amount of data. Genomic sequences and microscopy images alone can add up to multiple terabytes a week. Information is further extracted from the raw data using a computing cluster that leads to the creation of processed data files. This all translates into a unique set of challenges for the Institute’s IT team. Like the scientists they support, the IT team has had to address their challenges with innovative and experimental approaches.
“The scientists do everything from basic cellular process research to cancer and other diseases research,” said Paul McCabe, Senior Unix Systems Administrator and Data Center Specialist. “It varies widely, but the common denominator is that our research generates a huge amount of very valuable data.”
Due to the historical implications of their research, scientists at the Whitehead Institute constantly have to look back at previously collected data to forge ahead with their work.
“We tend to process data pretty heavily, and we have long-term data retention requirements,” said McCabe. “We not only store the data while it’s being actively processed by our researchers, but we also need to archive that data long after research papers are published in case the data behind the papers are ever challenged.”
As the Institute’s operations have become more dynamic and strenuous in nature, the legacy systems in place have had trouble keeping up with the increased workload and demand.
“Our organization had become a 24-hour endeavor, which was a challenge that was becoming more and more difficult to manage,” explained McCabe. “We were backing up for eight hours a day, duplicating for eight hours a day, and archiving the remaining eight hours. The equipment was being pushed to its limits, and if anything went wrong… we were simply out of hours.”
As a result, McCabe and the IT team began researching high capacity data archiving alternatives that could meet their scalability, reliability and simplicity needs. At an IT tradeshow, the team was introduced to the Fujifilm Dternity, a data archiving system that combines the simplicity of disk and the economics of tape into a highly scalable, easy-to-manage solution.
“We also liked the way Fujifilm structures its licensing model in large bands, rather than the ‘by the terabyte’ model offered by other vendors. Overall, it matched very well with our requirements.”
Currently, the Whitehead Institute IT team is storing 171 TB of unique data on the Dternity NAS, with room to grow to more than 400 TB.
To date, the IT team has seen an overall decrease in administrative time associated with backing up and archiving research data due to the system’s ease of use and scalability. There has been some cost savings already, but as the amount of data in the Dternity grows, the cost savings grows with it. It is significantly cheaper to keep archive data on tape as opposed to disk. “Capacity and scalability were obviously very important to us, but Dternity provided so much more,” said McCabe. “Our backup team is thrilled with how easy the system is to manage and how it frees them up to focus on other tasks, but I would say the most noticeable benefit is the overall peace-of-mind the Dternity provides us. We’re dealing with critical data, and I never have to worry because it is fully protected, backed up and available when needed.”
According to Juniper Research, cybercrime is expected to become a $2.1 trillion problem by 2019. Using tape-based, offline storage creates an “air gap” that can prevent hackers from accessing your data. In this video, Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies, explains the benefits of tape storage for data security.
Tape isn’t just raising the bar, it is the bar. According to a new Tape Storage Council report, in the last 10 years, LTO tape has increased capacity 1,400%, performance 200%, and reliability 9,900%. In addition to tape’s continual capacity improvements, tape is improving access time and data rate (throughput) with active archive, RAIT, and RAO, and offers the storage industry’s fastest data rates.
Tape is serving multiple roles for the enormous hyper scale, Internet and cloud data centers as tape capacity can easily scale without adding more drives. Check out the new 2018 State of the Tape Industry report featuring current trends, use cases and technology innovations for tape storage: http://tapestorage.org
Product Marketing Manager
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.
We know your data is important, but let’s face it, data growth is rising exponentially, and there is no turning back. No matter the industry, the daily creation of data is mindboggling, whether it’s emails, videos, IoT, blockchain or something new, it doesn’t matter because for every keystroke typed there is a new set of data created, computed, and stored forever. On the bright side, if you are using LTO-5 tape for backup/archive, now is the perfect time to migrate to LTO-7 since it could save your IT department $1,276,280 over the next five years.