Aesop said, "Tape ain’t dead!"

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In Aesop’s fable a boy cried wolf and wasn’t believed.  The same can be said for those naysayers who’ve been preaching that, “Tape’s dead.”  What on earth are they thinking?

Within the past year alone the following has occurred in the tape storage world:

1) Hitachi and Maxell announce they’ve developed a 50 TB tape.

2) IBM announced it can produce a 35 TB tape.

3) Oracle, as part of its roadmap, announced it will ship a 20 TB tape.

4) The LTO consortium released a roadmap with a 12+ TB tape (LTO8).

5) Fujifilm announced media technology reliably archiving data on tape for 30+ year periods.

Folks, the big boys don’t sink money into technology unless there’s a reason.   That reason is definitely tied to market demand expressed as sawbucks, C-notes, Benjamins, or dollars. Customers want and need tape, primarily for long-term archival needs, although backup applications are still important.

Nearly 70% of the world’s data is on tape and tape densities are growing at a prodigious rate.  This means the cost per TB of storage on tape is declining dramatically.  As for the cost of powering tape storage over many years, relative to spinning platters, everyone knows how that story plays out.  Given these facts, it’s hard to take seriously the cries of “wolf” emanating from the good folks who think tape has outlived its usefulness.

As if those mega-trends aren’t proof enough, Spectra Logic has been charging forward with our tape library technology and garnering all kinds of awards.  Check these out:

August 2010: IQ Awards, Computer category winner (TFinity tape library)

June 2010:  Storage Awards, Green Storage Product of the Year (TFinity tape library)

April 2010: DICE, Product of the Year (TFinity tape library)

January 2010:, Product of the Year Finalist (BlueScale 10.6 operating system for Spectra TSeries tape libraries)

January 2010: Storage Visions, Professional Media & Entertainment Storage (TFinity tape library)

And we’ve been profitable to boot!

Tape has always been, and in certain cases still is, great for backup.  Given today’s long-term retention requirements, though, it simply can’t be beat as an archive repository, especially in Active Archive solutions.  Simply speaking, an active archive solution extends a file system across your disk and tape infrastructure allowing you to seamlessly integrate both systems to ensure that high performance data goes to high performance storage while long-term data goes to long-term storage in an easy-to-manage, cost effective, unified manner.

Aesop had it right… you can’t keep yelling something that’s just not true and still be taken seriously.  Tape is dead  …really?