By Simon Watkins, StorageWorks nearline product marketing manager
To take liberties with a famous quote by Mark Twain...rumors of tape's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
If you believe some industry hype, tape is yesterday's data protection solution. Some of our competitors-specifically advocates of disk-based only solutions-are claiming that businesses will ultimately abandon tape in favor of disk-based data protection alternatives. While newer disk drives with higher capacities and lower costs are an attractive first-line backup solution, tape solutions still deliver the most cost-effective, reliable all-round solution for archiving business information.
The truth is, you don't buy tape because it's "a hot new technology." You buy it because of six key attributes:
- Tape is a robust and portable medium that enables easy offsite storage of data for disaster recovery. Features such as WORM and hardware-based data encryption provide the additional security of protected data at rest and in transit.
- Tape is space and cost-efficient for longer-term storage. We know you are facing the challenges of escalating volumes of data, increased compliance with data retention legislation and space constraints in the data centre. With LTO, you can now store up to 3.0TBs of compressed data on a single LTO-5 data cartridge. These tapes can be easily housed in a secure offsite vault and exist offline without power or cooling requirements.
- Tape has a long lifespan with a proven shelf life (of up to 30 years for LTO media) for reliable long-term archival. This is vitally important when you are challenged with complying with legislation that generally requires that data must be retained for longer.
- Tape storage offers highly cost-effective storage and is great value for money. In fact it is still one of the lowest cost per gigabyte medium to hold your archive data-with LTO-5 media delivering a cost of 5 cents per gigabyte. So ask yourself: why waste money paying for the ability to quickly get to data you're unlikely to ever access? Estimates suggest that 95% of data may never be accessed again beyond 90 days after creation-so why fly all your data "first class" when "coach" will do?
- Tape is cool-at least from an energy efficiency and cleanliness perspective! It's offline, so there's no power or cooling required which goes a long way to helping you manage data center power and cooling limitations challenges.
- Tape continues to innovate providing for growth. Large companies like HP, and our competitors such as IBM, Sun and Sony are continuing to invest money into tape roadmaps that develop bigger, faster and more secure tape drives to ensure that there's a future for tape that will provide growth and investment protection.
Predictions of tape's demise have been around for numerous years...and yet the tape market is thriving and tape itself continues to evolve. Tell us how and why your organization continues to use tape for data storage.
If you'd like to read more on HP tape solutions, here's a recent feature article on how tape just keeps getting better with new LTO-5 tape drives. Also check out this new white paper to help you reassess tape's ability to meet your business demands.
(Editor's note: This post was edited on 29 July to fix formatting from the migration to our new blog platform)