Feeds

Bring your backups out of the closet! It's time for 'Tape Pride'

Let go of that hardness, honey!

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Comment The tape industry should stop making excuses and instead raise its head with pride. Tape is great for archiving and nothing else comes close. In fact the gap with disk competition is going to widen in tape's favour.

This was the gist of senior ESG analyst Mark Peters' message at Tape Summit in San Francisco, during which a clutch of tape vendors briefed analysts and the press. Tape is not only the best medium for backup, but it is great for archives because its total cost of ownership compared to disk, even if data is deduplicated, is lower.

In a presentation slide, Peters wrote: "LTO-­5 (in tape libraries) has a lower TCO than deduplicated disk. Disk options ranged from 1.78 to 4.16 times more costly. Tape exhibits a lower cost per GB, OPEX and energy consumption [than disk]."

An ESG survey found that business's top IT priorities this year include several relevant to tape:

  • Improve data backup and recovery (no. 1 priority)
  • Manage data growth (no. 4)
  • Information security initiatives (no. 5)
  • Business continuity/disaster recovery (no. 6)
  • Data centre consolidation (no. 7)

Naturally big data in all senses creates a more tape-friendly context with new vertical markets like media and entertainment particularly affected. Films in digital format simply keep on getting bigger. A tape reel holds more than a disk and a tape library holds very much more data than a storage array.

A lot of big data will be cold - with low access request rates - yet it needs to be kept safely in some place. Peters reckons that, overall, there are massive and growing data archive needs, with a five or sixfold data growth rate for the next four or five years. Keeping pace with this yet keeping storage costs controlled is where tape can step forward knowing that nothing else comes close to its value proposition.

Yes, tape is slow compared to disk, but so is a flatbed lorry compared to a Ferrari - and people buy a lot of lorries. They are great at what they do. Primary or tier-1 data needs to be recoverable in minutes. Nearline (tier-2) data needs to be recoverable in hours but archive (tier-3) data can, if necessary, be recoverable in a handful of days. Tape's speed and capacity and cost is ideal for archive.

It's better than disk because it has immense capacity for the immense archives that are coming or already here in some cases.

The Linear Tape File System makes tapes more easily searchable and loadable; Windows, Linux and other OSes see LTO-5 tapes as file system devices, to or from which files can be dragged and dropped.

Tape media integrity is verifiable. Tape has a bit error rate up to three times better than disk, and a 30-year life that can be relied on. Tape scalability, as shown by IBM's demo of a 35TB capacity cartridge, is tremendous; there are no hard areal density transitions ahead. Disk technology faces a demanding transition to heat-assisted magnetic recording or bit-patterned media as perpendicular magnetic recording runs out of steam. This will slow disk's areal density increase growth rate, and so widen the cost/GB disparity between disk and tape.

Tape pride in what you do

Peters said: "Guess what? Tape isn't dead. Perception isn't reality." It's a great storage option for archiving and for armageddon, so to speak, when data has to be recovered from a massive online failure, such as that notorious Google email outage last year.

He recommends moving the positioning of tape from being apologetic to being aspirational, and suggests a "Tape Pride" approach. For example, tape is SLOW, meaning great for Secure Long-term On-line Workloads and TAPE is The Answer for Persistently Economic storage.

Tape vendors should work together and become assertive as an industry. They should say that, in the archive world, tape is much better than spinning rust. They should work together to grow the size of the tape archive pie more than competing with each other for the greatest slice.

Tape is good. Tape is great. Wear your tape usage with pride. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.