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Jessica Delage03.28.20233 min read

tape storage in your Data Center as the hyperscalers

I went recently through an article talking about the presence of Tape Storage in Data Center as an hyperscaler. It's an interesting article that covers the position of storage within data center, and it surfaces what is behind the scene of the "Cloud".

That's why I decided today to share the highlights of what a modern data center is and what sums up our point of view.

Cloud is so popular

Organization likes cloud and more specially storage cloud for the following reasons :

  • operational cost expense,
  • it is easy to procure,
  • collaboration to store and retrieve files.

It can make sense for storing data you’ll need to access frequently.

What is the position of the tape in the current storage landscape?

Tape offers 3 strong arguments.

  • Cost: the lowest cost medium for storing data.
  • Disconnected: being completely disconnected from the network prevents the data from being hacked, encrypted or deleted. Tapes provide the perfect solution against ransomware as tape can be stored offline and offsite.
  • Lifespan: organisations retain data for longer and longer periods of time, durability and long life are key considerations. When stored correctly, tape media has a lifetime of up to 30 years. In comparison, hard disk drives have a lifetime of between three and five years.

The combination of these three arguments is very important and provides a storage offer that cannot be ignored.

Companies that position their storage solution with the sole argument that they will replace tape storage solutions are wrong. For us, the attitude to adopt is how to best integrate this component into the existing storage solutions, and that the data management software makes it easy and transparent to use.

Tape evolution in the next 10 years?

Tape will continue to follow an established precedence of large capacity improvements with each new generation increasing in capacity, advancing to almost 576TB native capacity on a single piece of media, according to the LTO Consortium’s tape roadmap.

Following this roadmap, tape will continue to be the lowest cost and most reliable way to store massive volumes of data for long-term digital preservation.

The tape industry ensures that it stays ahead of the competition in terms of cost per TB and reliability, as it has done for decades. The LTO roadmap, leads by IBM, Quantum and HPE is very impressive in term of capacity expectation.  LTO-10 is expected to be delivered in 2023/24, and then we will reach LT0-14 between 2031 and 2036 if the usual cycle of two to three years per generation is maintained. 

Roadmap - Ultrium LTO

(Image credit: LTO Consortium

Cloud Storage versus Tape Storage

Storage provider company will not mention this publicly, if you are using most of lowest cost storage tiers in the cloud there is a good chance that your data will still be stored on tape.

This is the reason why these cloud-based solutions can offer very financial attractive pricing for storing couple of terabyte of data.

However, if you're a data-driven organization archiving petabytes of data, it will cost much more to store it in the cloud than in an on-premises tape library - especially if you're moving information in and out of the archive regularly.

Cloud providers offer attractive costs for data storage, but when you factor in outbound charges, bandwidth costs, and the time it takes to get data to the cloud, the pricing can be very expensive if you need to move data in and out of the cloud on a regular basis.

Our summary

In summary, there is no need to compare cloud storage and tape storage if cloud storage uses tape storage as storage medium. On the other hand, why not have an equivalent solution to on-site cloud storage using tape. To achieve this, what is missing is the logical layer of abstraction that cloud providers offer and that allows to move data between 'fast' and 'slow' storage (the tape), and that this is as transparent as possible for the user.

The attitude is to know how to best integrate tape storage components into existing storage solutions, and implement data management software that will transform all of these storage elements into a modern solution that provides storage capacity for all of your IT-archive-protect workflow requirements. This solution remains accessible to end users based on a service-oriented model, making it easy and transparent to use.