I just spent a full day at a meeting of the Active Archive Alliance and as I was flying home it occurred to me that it’s time for data storage managers to rise up from the sleepy status quo of buying more disk arrays to address runaway data growth problems. It’s time to wake up and smell the sweet aroma of freshly made modern data tape (sort of like that new car smell if you don’t know).
Why do that you ask? Because best practices and undeniable facts say so. Consider the following:
Data goes through a lifecycle from hot to cold, that is to say from a period of active use to a period of inactivity. This can happen in as little as 30 days or less.
Inactive data should not stay on primary storage devices. It takes up space on expensive storage media, consumes more energy and adds to the backup burden.
For over five decades, CERN has used tape for its archival storage. In this Fujifilm Summit video, Vladimir Bahyl of CERN explains how they increased the capacity of their tape archive by reformatting certain types of tape cartridges at a higher density.
At Storage Visions 2018, held in Santa Clara this past October, I had the opportunity to talk about the future outlook for tape as attendees wanted to know how they were going to store all the data that’s being created. The session I participated in was entitled “Epic Battles with Classic Heros – Flash, HDDs and Tape Slay Data Challenges.” As the title suggests, battling exponential data growth takes more than one storage media type to effectively handle the deluge of data that’s being created (now estimated to be 33 ZB in 2018 and growing to 175 ZB by 2025, according to IDC).
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Sometimes change can lead to confusion, or at least to a lot of questions. Take changes in the tax laws for example. I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say I feel sorry for tax preparers come 2019!
In the realm of tape storage, we too have had some changes to the traditional roll-out of next-generation LTO tape drives and media. But rather than focus on confusing change, let’s focus on the luxury of having options. That’s exactly what we have in the option offered with the introduction of LTO-8 drives that can use standard LTO-8, LTO-7, or… LTO-7 Type M tape cartridges.
In this video, Brad Johns provides the real cost of ownership of your data storage over 10 years and explains why tape is the most affordable option for long-term data storage. Although many companies use a variety of different storage platforms, tape is the most practical and the most affordable for backup and archive.
For one petabyte of raw, non-compressible data, the cost savings versus high capacity disk is about 74% over the course of 10 years; the savings increase to 84% when compared to the cloud. Brad Johns crunched the numbers and tape is undeniably the cheapest option for long-term storage.
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.
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 Stateof the Tape Industry report featuring current trends, use cases and technology innovations for tape storage: http://tapestorage.org
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