Because it is very easy to store and retrieve files from cloud storage services, more and more enterprises and consumers are adopting cloud to meet their storage needs. Although the cloud is of course meaningful for storing the data you need to access frequently, compared with hard disk drives or even solid-state drives, tape is still used in modern data centers because of its larger capacity and longer service life.

To better understand why businesses continue to use tape in the digital age, techradar Pro talked to Matt ninesling, director of hardware engineering at spectrum logic.

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Like paper printing and vinyl, tape is long overdue. Why are you still alive?

There are several reasons why tape has become an important part of modern data center

First, tape is by far the least expensive medium for storing data. This means that it is an ideal solution for archiving information that is accessed from time to time in large data repositories.

Secondly, with the wave of blackmail software in recent years, it is more important than ever for organizations to establish security vulnerabilities in order to control their own destiny when attacked. Tape provides an ideal air gap because the cartridge is stored in the library most of the time and can be used offline. In addition, the media can be easily deleted and stored offline, completely disconnected from the network, so as to prevent the data from being hacked, encrypted or deleted.

The third is life: as organizations keep data longer, durability and long life are key considerations. When properly stored, tape media can last up to 30 years. Hard drives, by contrast, have a lifetime of three to five years.

Many companies (backblaze, Google, etc.) are promoting cloud based backup solutions based on LTO (such as glacier). What do you say to customers who want to switch to existing tape clients?

If you’re using the lowest cost storage tier in the cloud, it’s very likely that you’re still storing your data on tape, rather than not on your own tape. These cloud based solutions make financial sense for storing a second copy of archived data or for small businesses with multi TB datasets.

However, if you are a data-driven organization that archives Pb, the cost of storing it in the cloud is much higher than that of storing it in a local tape library – especially when you pull information out of the archive on a regular basis.

When making these comparisons, keep in mind export costs, bandwidth costs, and time to get data through cloud connections.

If you need to move data into and out of the cloud on a regular basis, or in the worst case you have to retrieve all the data from the cloud, the cost of exporting to the cloud can be expensive. This doesn’t even take into account the high cost of the necessary network bandwidth to move large amounts of data into or out of the cloud, or it may take a long time to do so. Moreover, due to blackmail software attacks, tape is still the only best way to recover quickly because the data is stored completely offline. The on-site tape owned and managed by an organization is the cheapest way to archive large amounts of data. Although it may take longer to recover near-line data, the latency is the shortest, depending on the tape library.

You can find the TCO calculator on the LTO alliance website, which can help you compare the potential costs of different solutions.

What is the adoption rate of lto-7 type M? Will this new media capacity make it more difficult to push lto-8?

Based on the low cost per TB of lto-7 type m and the availability of lto-8 media, the adoption rate of lto-7 type m was very high in the first year and a half after the release of lto-8 tape drives.

Once the lte-8 media becomes available at any time and the price drops due to market competition, the adoption rate of lte-8 media will be very high.

Computational storage – the ability to perform data De duplication / compression / encryption / decompression on devices – is also being applied to other media. What do you think the tape industry should do to maintain its leading position?

The tape industry needs to ensure that it has decades of leadership in cost per terabyte and reliability to continue to compete.

The industry must also continue to innovate. For example, the shift to more modern storage architectures such as object storage archives using tape makes tape both easy to use and cost-effective. In addition, adding more and more technology and intelligence to automated tape libraries, such as exascale tfinity, will continue to make it easier to use tapes without human intervention.

What do you think of the development of tape in the next decade?

According to the tape roadmap of LTO consortium, tape will continue to follow the established precedent of large capacity improvement, with the increase of new generation capacity, the original capacity on a single medium will increase to nearly 200tb.

According to this roadmap, tape will continue to store large amounts of data for long-term digital preservation at the lowest cost and in the most reliable way.

Do you believe that the holy alliance between flash and tape will eventually lead to the death of hard drives?

We see use cases evolving for all three media formats. Unless the cost of flash memory is very close to that of HDD, flash memory will not eventually replace disk in many daily data environments.

We expect that tape will continue to replace disk in a long-term storage environment due to its low cost, higher reliability, and air gap advantage compared to HDD. As a result, we expect flash to continue to replace disk where IOP and ultra-high throughput make it the preferred storage medium. This leaves the disk in smaller segments, focusing on larger 3.5-inch disk drives.

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