Why Tape Storage is More Important Than Ever In Today’s Data Explosion 

Recent advancements in storage technology have made it possible for cutting-edge solutions to shape the way people store their data these days. The ironic thing about this is that the more we produce data, the greater the need to reintroduce ourselves to “old school” solutions that are proving to be more relevant than ever in how today’s data is being stored safely and reliably.

Tape storage defines everything that an “old school” data storage solution is, but it is anything but passé. In fact, it has been growing in popularity the last few years despite the influx of obviously more sophisticated storage media such as disk, flash, and cloud.  

The reason behind this is plain and simple: tape storage possesses the capacity, integrity, and reliability that data storage demands today, not to mention being a more affordable way to store data. Despite these outstanding qualities, however, tape storage remains in the background, seen as a backup solution that is good enough to pick up where more modern storage solutions left off.

Why tape storage doesn’t get the recognition it deserves

It is not that tape storage isn’t gaining any traction. In fact, it has been getting a lot of boost lately from stakeholders in the data storage industry, with impressive advancements being made that showcase tape storage’s capacity and undeniable storage capabilities.

However, the push needs to become a shove in order to position tape technology as more than just a backup storage solution. The slow transition to becoming “king” of storage solutions maybe attributed to the following:

Not enough promotion

More advanced storage solutions are being advertised more aggressively, which leaves tape storage so far behind the data storage game. It can’t be denied that solutions like cloud storage are more recognised today, thanks to their effective marketing and advertising strategies.

Tape storage, on the other hand, continues to be seen as “old school”, and assumed by consumers to lack accessibility that most modern storage solutions readily offer, when in fact, tape storage has been making vast improvements in terms of performance and reliability since 2005.  

IT administrators aren’t familiar with it

Today’s breed of IT administrators grew up with advanced storage solutions that made tape storage unheard of. This isn’t their fault entirely, though, since most new companies today prefer to adopt these modern storage technologies than older ones.

Accessibility isn’t its strong quality

Users don’t see the need to adopt tape backup solutions, especially when dealing with data that needs to be accessed quickly or frequently. Hence, tape storage has been relegated to large data archiving and long-term retention of data that doesn’t need to be accessed on a regular basis.

Whilst these little bumps on the road are preventing tape backup from getting the recognition it deserves, it is undeniable that tape storage hasn’t lost its charms. Despite its limitations and complacency when it comes to self-promotion, it continues to get talked about – and for good reason.

Still the storage solution to beat

Despite numerous more advanced backup technologies that are available today, tape storage remains stable, and with the improvements being introduced in recent years to enhance its capability and performance, it clearly proves it isn’t going anywhere.

Vendors like Fujifilm continue to advocate strongly and aggressively for tape backup as a good, if not the best, solution to meet today’s data explosion. Demand for tape technology is on the rise, a fact isn’t surprising, given the unprecedented growth of data being produced on a daily basis.

Tape storage is gaining momentum due in part to the following compelling value propositions:

1. Affordability

As data relentlessly grows, so is the need to find a cost-effective solution that can meet backup and disaster recovery requirements. Enter tape technology, which offers modern data centres a reliable way to address large-scale storage requirements.

Tape backup is increasingly moving away from the background and coming into its own as a more economical storage solution to address continuous escalation of the amount of data being produced. Even cloud providers are realising that storing inactive data on HDDs isn’t practical and cost-effective, which is why a majority of them are now implementing tape technology alongside their cloud infrastructure solutions.

2. Scalability

Improvements in tape technology have allowed it to meet today’s need to store large amounts of data. Fujifilm, for example, has come up with a tape storage solution that can potentially store 400 TBs native per cartridge, which provides storage capacity that is 67 times better than the standard LTO-7.

Such enhancements prove that as data escalates, tape technology can meet this demand due to its impressive scalability and high capacity to integrate storage technologies that cater to current data needs.

3. Reliability and security

Tape technology’s popularity is ever growing due to its reputation of providing a reliable way to meet regulatory retention requirements. Data loss and non-compliance with retention requirements are greatly reduced when data centres opt to complement their existing data storage solutions with tape technologies.

More importantly, tape storage still holds the title of being the safest and most secure data backup technology. Thanks to air gap, a unique feature that is present in removable tape cartridges, there’s no electronic connection to the data that can make it vulnerable to unauthorised access or data attacks.   

4. Portable and easier to use

Tape provides more mobility than your average disk drives. In addition, it offers a more user-friendly way to retain and access files that aren’t unalterable, which is especially useful in highly regulated industries.

Moreover, when recovering data, it is more practical to move tapes from one location to another, instead of spending precious amounts of time downloading bytes upon bytes of data from a cloud.

In Conclusion

With these advantages, companies involved in working with a lot of data should take stock of how tape technologies can boost their business, particularly those who are into growing industries such as IoT, big data, and cloud storage services. 

Whilst new technologies are setting the pace on how the world should advance, “old school” technologies like tape storage clearly shows getting there isn’t possible without relying on trusted and reliable solutions that have worked all these years, and obviously, still set the bar high.

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