Tape: Op­ti­mal so­lu­tion for Big Data stor­age

New tech­nolo­gies such as Lin­ear Tape File Sys­tem (LTFS) and re­cently de­vel­oped tape stor­age fea­tures, such as en­cryp­tion are in­creas­ing the suit­abil­ity and at­trac­tive­ness of tape

InformationWeek - - Opinion -

he need for mass stor­age is seek­ing a re­vival through a tech­nol­ogy, which only a few years ago was writ­ten off by all in the in­dus­try: mag­netic tape.

Tape is one of the old­est com­puter stor­age medi­ums still in use. De­spite pre­dic­tions on the demise of tape stor­age, tape is very much alive and rein­vent­ing its strong iden­tity as a stor­age medium that can pro­vide many ben­e­fits, par­tic­u­larly for long-term preser­va­tion of data. Ac­cord­ing to the Tape Stor­age Coun­cil, tape ca­pac­ity ship­ments reached a record level in 2012 of more than 20,000 PB (that’s 20 EB), with pro­jected growth of over 25 per­cent this year. Re­cent in­stal­la­tions by Ama­zon and Google are con­firm­ing this trend. Google — like al­most 80 per­cent of cus­tomers, ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner — con­tinue to use tape as part of its data pro­tec­tion strat­egy to sup­port its ap­pli­ca­tions. In spite of new tech­nolo­gies cre­at­ing hype ev­ery few months, cus­tomers still look at tape for their long-term ar­chiv­ing and data re­ten­tion needs.


Tape is re­li­able, low power, low cool­ing, and cheap. Given its re­li­a­bil­ity and as­so­ci­ated lower costs, tape is a great so­lu­tion to ar­chive data for any or­ga­ni­za­tion with mas­sive amount of un­struc­tured data.

New tech­nolo­gies such as Lin­ear Tape File Sys­tem (LTFS) and re­cently de­vel­oped tape stor­age fea­tures, such as en­cryp­tion are in­creas­ing the suit­abil­ity and at­trac­tive­ness of tape. In­dus­tries such as me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment, in­tel­li­gence, oil and gas, and life sci­ences view tape as es­sen­tial for stor­ing and pro­tect­ing the mas­sive data vol­umes they gen­er­ate. With all the new data gen­er­ated from HD cam­eras and the fo­cus on re-mon­e­tiz­ing con­tent in dif­fer­ent ways, stor­ing ev­ery­thing on disk sim­ply isn’t fea­si­ble from a cost stand­point.

Big Data is real. It is no more a trend but a key busi­ness dif­fer­en­tia­tor. Ac­cord­ing to a CSC re­port, data pro­duc­tion will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009. With such huge amounts of data be­ing cre­ated ev­ery day, IT de­part­ments across all sec­tors are strug­gling with man­ag­ing, stor­ing and pro­tect­ing vast quan­ti­ties of data. Ad­di­tion­ally, or­ga­ni­za­tions are cap­tur­ing and con­vert­ing more and more con­tent into dig­i­tal data. Also driv­ing up the amount of data that com­pa­nies must store to­day are the grow­ing obli­ga­tions that reg­u­la­tions and laws are plac­ing on com­pa­nies gath­er­ing and stor­ing data about cus­tomers, part­ners and even em­ploy­ees. Many com­pa­nies need to re­tain backup data for months or years for com­pli­ance rea­sons, and it be­comes part of the data growth and data man­age­ment chal­lenge for com­pa­nies. Cus­tomers these days can’t af­ford to just put all their data on disk; they must do more than that to keep up with this growth.

One way to re­spond to this data growth is with tiered stor­age ar­chi­tec­ture. Com­pa­nies should use the right com­bi­na­tion of stor­age tech­nolo­gies — disk, tape and even flash — to meet their RTOs and/or SLAs while min­i­miz­ing TCO.

In ad­di­tion to its use for backup and re­trieval, off­site stor­age of data on tape is the pri­mary el­e­ment in most dis­as­ter re­cov­ery and busi­ness con­tin­gency plans.

As data continues to grow at a rapid pace and needs of or­ga­ni­za­tions change, tape will play an ever im­por­tant role not only in man­ag­ing data ef­fec­tively but in main­tain­ing IT bud­gets.

ar eters

Jim Si­mon

is the Se­nior Di­rec­tor of Mar­ket­ing for Quan­tum’s Asia-

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