Using LTO Tape Storage for Cost Savings and Clear Conscience
As society enters the digital age, many new technologies are coming about to revolutionize the way we work and play. Data storage is one of the many industries affected by advances in technology. Currently, there are three generations of data storage methods, which include tape, disk and cloud storage. Despite many claims that cloud and disk storage are making the tape method obsolete, a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009, by Fleishman-Hillard Research, provides evidence to the contrary.
The Tech That Wouldn't Die
The survey took into account the perspectives of over 200 network administrators and mid-level technology specialists from companies located all around the United States. "Our survey shows that over the last four years, the percentage of tape-only users indicating they will eliminate or decrease their usage of tape continues to drop," offered Ken Alldredge, the director of Fleishman-Hillard Research, who oversaw the study. 60 percent of managers reported using a blended data storage solution, including disk and tape methods. More than half of these managers indicated that tape storage would continue to be a significant aspect of their back-up plan.
According to this study, many respondents who only use disk back-up, are planning to add tape back-up to their data storage solution, flying in the face of predictions that disk will eliminate tape storage. In addition, 37 percent of managers who are already using tape storage, indicate that they are planning to increase their tape usage in the future, signifying an upward trend from the 2006 survey, which indicated a 24 percent increase.
Disk back-up can perform most of the features tape storage provides. However, tape is much more durable than disk, because tape doesn't require any moving mechanical parts, which are vulnerable to damage. The encryption features of LTO storage are much more reliable and cost effective than their disk counterparts. It is quite likely that newer methods will eventually replace tape storage, but not any time soon. Using the latest methods and technology in any aspect of business, is not always the smartest move. For one thing, in a struggling economy, most businesses cannot justify the cost of replacing their existing systems.
"Tape is the predominant storage media used for data protection due to its portability and, from an acquisition cost perspective, its price. What most do not realize is that, despite the uptick in investments in disk-based backup solutions, tape is still a staple in this area. According to recent ESG research, 82% of organizations still use tape to support all or a portion of onsite backup processes. This represents only a 5% decrease from a similar survey that ran in 2008. . . Despite predictions of its death, tape's demise as a protector of newly generated information is far from imminent. It still remains the most predominant repository for historical information," explains Brian Babineau from analyst ESG, in the market report on "Tape Remediation" from June 2010.
For the Environmentally Conscious
Another significant factor in the staying power of tape data storage is environmental awareness. Over the last couple of decades, there has been a real push towards conserving energy, recycling, reusing and generally reducing the human foot print on our planet. One problem that comes from constant industry innovation is what happens to the older generation of products. Companies such as Recycle Your Media, buy used tapes from companies who no longer need them, clean the tapes, and sell them to other companies looking to reduce waste and save money.
Instead of contributing to the massive landfills of waste polluting our planet, companies can actually make a little money back when they choose to sell their used back-up tapes. Recycle Your Media erases all of the data on the tapes, and then puts each tape through a 12-point inspection to determine whether or not it can be reused. "We often like to say that our certification process is a lot better than the manufacturer because we test every single tape, not just batch test," said Brian Musil, founder of California-based Recycle Your Media. "If a tape is going to fail, it will fail when you load it, as opposed to in the middle of its usage. The failure rate on this type of media is very low because it is manufactured well."
The cost and environmental savings of choosing tape storage seems to keep adding up. Used tapes are available for purchase at a discounted price, through companies like Recycle Your Media. If the tapes are well taken care of, there is a chance the purchaser will be able to get additional cash-back, when he or she is ready to upgrade storage methods. Choosing tape storage also saves energy. "Tape storage media consumes zero power and generates zero heat for them just to sit there," explains Musil. Disk storage is faster than tape, but they also require more energy, which shows up on the monthly electricity bill. The total cost savings of purchasing a used tape, when compared to new products, can be as high as 50 percent.