A window into the future of archiving

Why LTO tape storage will be important in the zettabyte era

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Tape is one of the most durable types of storage media, both in terms of its physical characteristics and also its longevity as a technology: few things outlast, and few things have outlasted, tape.

Many people assume that alternative technologies, especially the Cloud, are becoming dominant in areas that were formerly the preserve of tape - in particular, backup, archiving and disaster recovery. I think this is because the most prominent cloud services, Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are supported by three of the most influential companies of our era. It’s not unexpected that this makes the breadth and reach of their marketing extremely pervasive. And underneath these public cloud giants are a flotilla of smaller vendors following in their wake, with a mix of private and public solutions, which certainly creates the impression of an irresistible and all-encompassing technology transformation that is sweeping aside everything in its path.

The purpose of this series of articles is not to try and argue that the adoption of cloud storage isn’t happening. Nor is it to propose that the use of the cloud is misplaced or that tape would somehow be a better choice in every situation. But I happen to think - and remember that I am writing in a personal as well as professional capacity - there is a tendency to create absolutes when talking about the merits of different storage technologies. This has been a challenge for the tape business, in particular, since the turn of the century.

The basic argument that I am going to propose in this sequence of articles is that the challenge of managing digital data in the 2020’s will require a mix of both tape and cloud. That’s because tape offers some distinct advantages, as yet unmatched or bettered by other alternatives. Quite often, I feel that some commentators are keen to present a binary choice of tape or cloud, which in my opinion is too narrow and doesn’t reflect what Enterprises actually want (and need) to keep their data safe.

So, to find out more about these issues, please join me each week as I share my personal viewpoint, with over twenty years of experience in storage, on the future of data protection and archiving in the next decade.

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