Taking a Look Back and Forward at Tape Storage Trends

By Peter Faulhaber

Last year was full of key milestones for the tape storage industry. The cost per terabyte and total cost of ownership (TCO) improved for tape-based storage and archive; tape became firmly entrenched in all of the major U.S. hyperscale data centers; and the tape “air gap” continued to be a compelling tool in combating cybercrime.

As we begin 2020, we expect even further momentum and demand for tape storage as data growth continues on an explosive path and new storage architectures and emerging technologies place increased demands on the need for more effective data management.

Here are a few of my predictions for the storage market in 2020:

  • Software-defined tape for object storage will emerge as a popular solution, providing the interface to download data from object storage systems to compatible tape systems using standard S3 APIs. Users will be able to write objects directly to tape in native form, in a self-describing, open format.  As a result, object storage users can leverage the value proposition of tape including lowest TCO, reliability and long term archivability.

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Part 2: Video Series on Unstructured Data

In this video Brendan Sullivan, Fred Moore and Chris Dale discuss the challenges of managing unstructured data in today’s off-site storage vaults. This includes proposed and developing solutions that have been created to finally resolve the issues of remediation of data from un-cataloged environments, and how modern tape technologies can play a part in housing legacy data.
Watch the full video here.

Part 1: Video Series on Unstructured Data

In this video Brendan Sullivan, Fred Moore and Chris Dale discuss the IT environments that have existed over the past 30 years that have resulted in the mountains of unstructured data being backed up or archived on a plethora of different tape and data formats, and the reasons why the vaulting strategies created at the time do not serve the legacy data issues of today.

Watch the full video here.

When it Comes to Data Storage Spending, Knowing Your Total Cost of Ownership is Key

Ever wonder if you are getting the best deal on your data storage? Understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) is critically important to any data storage purchase decision.

Today we introduced our new TCO Calculator, an updated version of our online tool that helps IT professionals assess and compare TCO for automated tape storage, disk-based storage, and cloud-based archive storage. The new TCO Calculator raises the maximum user storage baseline from 10PB to 100PB, integrating the IBM TS4500 enterprise library using LTO-8 drives and media for initial capacities over 10PB. Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive and bulk retrieval service is now also included in cloud storage cost comparisons.

After entering data into the TCO Calculator, users can download a customizable results report which includes an executive summary, key cost assumptions, and TCO by cost category and type (e.g., energy costs, offsite costs, service fees, labor, bandwidth, etc.).

Find out how you can start saving on your data storage costs now. Access the free TCO Calculator here.

Managing The World’s Hyperscale Data Growth

While backup remains an active use case for tape due to its value for fast site restores and anti-cybercrime, tape’s future growth opportunities lie in many new and emerging areas. With the Internet, cloud, big data, compliance and IoT waves promising unprecedented data growth, the timing for advanced tape functionality couldn’t be better.

Check out this new white paper from Horison Information Strategies to learn how the tape renaissance is ushering in the era of modern tape.

Do-it-Yourself Cartridge Repairs Anyone?

By Brian Kelly

Have you ever watched a TV show featuring some dangerous activity and the warning comes up “Do not attempt this yourself?” It’s usually good advice and reminds me of an experience I had recently.

I had the pleasure of co-presenting at “The Reel Thing,” a part of the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference in Portland, Oregon with Steve Kochak from Digital Preservations Laboratories. During my part of our presentation I was able to explain to the audience how an LTO cartridge is made and explained in detail each of the different components in a cartridge and what their functions are.

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The Tape Renaissance

The magnetic tape data storage industry has withstood numerous challenges from its own past performance, from the HDD industry, and mainly from those who are simply uninformed about the major transformation the tape industry has delivered. Early experience with non-mainframe tape technologies were troublesome and turned many data centers away from using tape in favor of HDDs. Mainframe tape technology was more robust. Many data centers still perceive tape as mired in the world of legacy tape as a result. However, this view is completely out of date.

In this new white paper, Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies, explains why it’s time to take advantage of the many benefits tape can bring to your storage infrastructure.

Read the white paper here.

Storage Switzerland Video: Considering the Total, Rather than Upfront, Cost of Backup Storage Infrastructure

In a recent Storage Switzerland blog, Lead Analyst George Crump talks about how, because IT is perpetually working to lower both capital and operating expenses associated with backup storage infrastructure, backup workloads are common targets for migration to the cloud. However, this is not necessarily the most effective strategy for optimizing cost efficiencies.

In this video, he talks with IT consultant Brad Johns about why IT organizations should holistically evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their backup storage infrastructure, as opposed to focusing solely on immediate costs such as upfront infrastructure acquisition.

Check out George’s blog for more details:

Considering the Total, Rather than Upfront, Cost of Backup Storage Infrastructure

It’s Time to Wake up and Smell the Tape!

By Rich Gadomski

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.

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