Reports of tape’s death have been greatly exaggerated

Steve Mackey from Spectra Logic says the demise of tape is nothing more than a viral myth, and urges the channel to rethink its approach

The channel view of tape needs adjusting. Recent research shows most firms are not deleting their data and that most long-term retention data resides safely on tape cartridges. The demise of tape is nothing more than a viral myth. 

We are seeing increases of data volumes due to the type of rich, heavy gigabyte files that make up videos, for example. And thanks to the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and the plethora of image-rich online content, each individual is increasing our data footprint all the time with no sign of abatement.

For many organisations there is also a strong argument for keeping that data – in research or life sciences, for example, data can be viewed as an asset. Whichever way we look at it, big data is here and growing, and as a result the tape market is indeed booming with more data on tape consistently each year. 

Storing data forever requires both scale-out disk and tape-based deep storage. The combination allows for each technology to be used when it makes the most sense. It also makes the long-term retention of data a cost-effective reality.

The programmable part of tape is something we are seeing come to fruition. So what does this mean for the channel?

Channel partners we work with know tape is growing, but others seem determined to work in silos and prefer to recommend more expensive HDD solutions – when a tape archive and HDD combination would be far more suitable and cost-effective. 

With the availability of neat linear tape file systems for slimline tape libraries, designed to take up the minimum amount of space and use the lowest amount of power, isn’t it time the channel acknowledged tape is growing and a great way to store all our precious archives?


Steve Mackey is VP international at Spectra Logic

This was last published in April 2014

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The best thing about using tape for backing up critical data is that it is not susceptible to online theft or viruses.
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