There is no secret around where data storage is consolidating. Every analyst brief on data storage worldwide, shows more data growth in public cloud than any other medium. This makes a lot of sense if you are really thinking about it. All of the small businesses that want to capitalize on the economics of scale for compute, also want to capitalize on the economics of protection for data storage. Regulatory requirements are killing small businesses that try to go it alone, leveraging cloud storage checks all the boxes.
Cloud is not a panacea. Regardless of the public perception it is not ethereal either. Foundationally cloud is the economics of scale and localized standardization around commodity hardware, controlled by software. Cloud in its current incantation is fairly young; Hyperscale companies that are dominating the world markets are young as well. As a company matures the requirement to grow profit for stakeholders drives the need for as much innovation as is required to get a start-up moving. Innovation is not “re-inventing the wheel”. In most cases innovation is learning to use the scale of what exists to best fit your model.
No technology in the world fits the model of scale for business outcomes, more than Magnetic Tape ( #magtape ). I know what you are thinking how can tape be the answer, it is old and slow, but nothing could be more false. Why is it when a disk vendor bashes tape they show an image like this:
that is 60 years ago; is this what you think about when you think Disk or Object storage?
But Tape is so hard to use and does not match the Open Compute Project model or standards established by the other Hyperscale providers; again not true. Tape is regularly being consumed in large quantity by the Hyperscale companies. Well documented examples have been referenced by Google and Microsoft. Notwithstanding, details around such solutions, it is safe to say that there are not many applications of storage that are more modern than the Cloud providers.
Thinking of tape as simply an old technology, or a necessary evil does not do IT professionals credit. The nature of IT is that every IT manager, director, CIO is a business person first and a technologist second. CIOs have to challenge themselves to find new ways to focus on the Innovative revenue driving technology, and that can be hit or miss in achieving the business outcomes. Tape storage for Archiving and Regulatory data is a no brainer. Whether you are trying to compute Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Cost per Raw TB or looking at raw storage per sq. foot, nothing compares.
The integration of Tape is no longer around managing individual tapes, putting them on trucks and then back in to the tape library. Tape solutions are near-line, and operate with the latest File System interfaces and protocols. Tape Solutions are completely automated, replicate data and have an unmatchable data durability. Nothing can be more important than an easy integration and management.
Tape also lets you manage more data per storage administrator. 2 Administrators can manage over 300PB of data storage with an IBM TS4500. In dense disk environments an Admin can only manage 15PB. Automation is what makes this possible. The vision of tapes being written and unloaded on to a truck for transport is antiquated at best. Modern tape systems are solutions that are a part of a Software Defined Storage infrastructure. Tape Solutions stand alone with no more manual interventions or monitoring than a disk system. SDS can manage sending data to more than 1 location, just like spinning technologies. Regardless of the solution; flash, disk, or tape, a number of components are compiled to make the solution work. Usually associated with the amount of data to be stored.
The number of components can significantly impact the solution impact on budgets. Standard disk configurations require 80% more investment over a 10-year period than tape. This is heavily driven by increased costs in energy consumption and in meeting required capacity growth. Cost is always a significant factor when it comes to purchasing insurance, regardless if it is personal or data insurance. Modern Data Protection (MDP) and retention is the insurance for one of the most valuable resources available to business, data. Solutions that maximize the availability and protection and decrease the cost are a great start, but ease of use is critical.
Tape is not difficult to use, it is integrated in to the larger modern data protection schema. Software defines every aspect of MDP, from Flash Copy management, data back-up and restore of Zero RTO/RPO system, to the last line of Air-Gap protection that recovers in the event of a disaster. Immediate recovery needs forced administrators to adopt solutions that were vulnerable to attack. MDP is enabled through tiered solutions that store data in performance priced tiers. Reducing expense while meeting regulatory and business outcomes.
Leading SDS solutions like Spectrum Protect Plus provides flexible and managed capabilities. Allowing administrators to meet Low time RTO/RPO requirements and at the same time drive Air-Gap protection at the lowest possible price point. Tape is that lowest Price for performance and can be managed to retain long term data. When the time comes that you need performance priced disaster recovery, Tape is the solution.