Save more data, for longer, for less using HPE StoreEver LTO technology

Andrew Dodd

Worldwide Marketing Communications Manager at HPE Storage

Welcome to this series of articles in which I will be discussing the lasting innovation of HPE StoreEver tape and LTO tape technology.  

I finished the previous article by touching upon the cost implications of long term data preservation and so in this blog, I want to go into more detail about HPE StoreEver total cost of ownership.

By now, you might be observing how a lot of the themes in these articles are interwoven: e.g. areal density innovation, sustainability and cost.

Data takes up space

When it comes to preserving data in the future, if disk capacity per unit is only growing half as quickly as the data itself, then you will need a lot more disks to store your expanding archives.

In the last blog, I estimated that a 3 PB archive today would be around 87 PB in ten years time with a 41% compound growth rate.  This was based on projections in a report entitled ‘Tape Landscape Study 2020’ by Enterprise Strategy Group.


Assuming broad parity in street pricing (e.g. that a 100 TB Enterprise SATA disk in future will cost roughly the same as a 20 TB SATA disk today - about $600 street price), the acquisition of those 870 disks or 87 PB of capacity would cost over half a million dollars!

In comparison, (and again assuming that tapes in future are priced at broadly similar levels to today’s LTO-9 cartridges, around $200 per unit), the media cost of a  87 PB archive set would only be $23,200 if each cartridge had a capacity of 730 TB as projected by INSIC.  This is a saving of 182% on the cost of those 870 hard disks even before considerations like power, cooling and emissions.

Not just about the ticket price

Of course, the cost of the disks themselves is just one factor to consider. Analysis also needs to include:

  • acquisition
  • maintenance
  • software licensing
  • extended warranty
  • administration
  • IT headcount, storage fees (for offsite tape)
  • connectivity
  • floor space
  • hosting and egress fees (for the cloud)
  • power and energy costs (operation, cooling etc)

But even in the most sophisticated financial analysis, tape seems to have a clear advantage over alternative mainstream approaches. And this advantage has been confirmed in a number of different analyst reports, the most recent being an August 2020 study, ‘The Economic Benefits of HPE StoreEver as Active Archival Storage’ written by Enterprise Strategy Group. 

The lowest cost, long-term storage technology

In this study, ESG estimated that an organisation might be able achieve total cost savings (considering storage, infrastructure, maintenance/support, egress, and administration) of approximately 86% ($2.358M versus $329K) over a ten-year period using HPE StoreEver for a 1 PB archive by using tape instead of the public cloud. 


ESG assumed that the organisation retrieved 3% of data monthly and the annual data growth rate in the study was set at 10%. The analyst noted that these key assumptions were “conservative estimates based on ESG research of existing operational practices”.

Compared to an all-disk solution, the savings were of a similar magnitude. ESG analysis revealed TCO is 82% lower with tape than when using disk-based solutions alone ($329k versus $1.803M for all-disk).

This may surprise you if you are used to the cloud being presented as the least expensive form of storage. But ESG’s analysis found that the monthly incurrence of storage and egress costs make the public cloud a more expensive option in the longer term. This is because organisations accumulate cloud storage costs through the expansion of data volumes and egress charges increase proportionally as the total amount of data grows. In other words, it will cost more to retrieve 3% of 40 PB than it does to retrieve 3% of 4 PB.

The convenience of the cloud may come at a cost

Although the cloud may have a very low barrier to adoption, it’s clear that businesses need to consider the longer term cost impact very carefully. Cloud service charges are a rental charge that needs to be paid, month after month, year after year, even before the additional levy for data retrieval. In their study, ESG estimated that after ten years, the charges for just a single year’s hosting and retrieval would surpass the entire cost of the tape library infrastructure for the whole decade!

Of course, every organisation will be different, and individual case studies may be different. But using HPE StoreEver tape to reduce the total cost of storing less frequently accessed, but important data, is certainly an opportunity worth examining for any organisation storing petabytes of data.

In the next article, I’ll be discussing perhaps the most contemporary and important benefit that LTO tape has to offer, namely its ability to store your data offline and behind an air gap so that it cannot be corrupted by ransomware. But in the meantime, feel free to give me feedback in the comments here in LinkedIn or by following me on Twitter @tapevine. Thank you once again for reading!

Follow or contact us!

Sales Expert | Technical Support