Contact Us

|

Careers

|

Change Locale
close

Could there still be a place for tape?

From the experts | Posted on February 14, 2012 by Ferrol Macon

Often, new technologies bury old ones – think of the demise of the horse and buggy or the record player. But sometimes, established technologies have a funny way of flailing for a bit then finding a new equilibrium. In-theater movie going, for instance, didn’t die when at-home devices became popular – they both simply learned to coexist in an expanded marketplace to the benefit and joy of consumers who now had more freedom than before.

Here’s another great example: For years now, ever since the advent of the disk, pundits have predicted the apocalyptic demise of tape backup – derisively calling it “end-of-life” technology.

But it just hasn’t happened. Tape is still here, firmly entrenched in the overwhelming majority (82%) of onsite backups. Or to borrow from Mark Twain, “the reports of physical tape’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

In fact, tape solutions continue to play a huge role for backup, recovery, long-term data retention and data protection in most organizations, particularly small and medium sized businesses.

Why?

For one, disk solutions are still more than 15 times more costly than tape. Disk technology also uses nearly 250 times more energy, meaning the energy costs alone to run disks can cost more than the entire cost of tape, which for its part still costs only about 3 cents a gigabyte. And an examination of acquisition costs and total cost of ownership of tape versus disk-based architectures over a five-year timeframe shows that tape easily wins on both fronts.

Secondly and related to the bottom line cost issue is the reality that many enterprises – and particular SMBs – simply can’t afford to wait to recover huge technology investments over an extended period of time. And they understand that there’s no point
spending more than they need (or have) on pricey disks for storing data they’ll rarely, and hopefully never have to access again.

Thirdly, a strong case can be made for tape over disk when it comes to offline and offsite data protection. If a network goes down or a hurricane or earthquake takes out your data center, tape provides a physical archived record of your data away from the mayhem.

Finally, while tape once had a well-deserved reputation for being unreliable and difficult to use, today’s tape drives and LTO technology are highly reliable and incredibly simple to manage.

In the final analysis – like movie versus home theaters – there will continue to be a role to play for both tape and disk backup technologies, particularly for cost-conscious enterprises. Blending the two allows businesses to achieve the performance they need – for instance, the need to access high availability data – while still keeping a handle on strained budgets. And those strained budgets may be a big reason why a recent Fleishman-Hillard survey revealed that 61% of disk-only users still planned to start using this so-called “end-of-life” tape technology.

If Mark Twain understood what the heck data storage was, he’d be smiling right now.

Related Post: On demand scalability, simpler management and more.

Related Posts

Hooked On Storage Part 2: In-house solutions, heterogeneity and deep dives In Part 1, we took a look at some of the big picture challenges facing IT pros when it comes to the exponential growth in storage needs. But what about the solutions? What fac...
Putting CYOD to the Ultimate Test – 8,000 Miles Away Before I left for Kenya with the Softchoice Cares mission to build a computer lab and library for the village of Maai Mahiu, my enthusiasm was tempered a bit by my concern...
What are your options when your existing PCs aren’t compatible with Windows... Want to save time and money on your Windows 7 deployment? Virtualize!  If you’re a stalwart IT decision maker who stuck by Windows XP for the last decade, you’re finally co...

Related Articles

Innovation Executive Forum | September 13, 2019 by Karen Bader

Enterprises today understand the requirement to combat slow and low end-user adoption, especially when the solutions are intended to transform the way people work, as with new communications and collaboration tools. For years, Softchoice has been offering end-to-end, turnkey adoption services, helping businesses across North America unlock more value, quickly, from their key collaboration investments. […]

Uncategorized | August 28, 2019 by Susana Byun

Here are your top 10 must-read Microsoft announcements from August 2019 curated by Softchoice:

There are two kinds of cloud enterprises. Those that are “born in the cloud” — have come into being without ever owning a data center. And those that are migrating to the cloud, piece by piece, with varying senses of urgency and speed.