Zombie Watch: Resolution for 2011

Reading time for this article .
Subscribe to the Spectra Blog >

Ms. Meade resolves to track the zombie threat across 2011. By that, of course, we mean the zombie technology that in spite of frequent declarations of death, just won’t die. This technology: tape (what a surprise). Other technologies may be added to the list, but in the meantime, let’s examine the zombie index on tape technology.

Tape is the first and most significant threat, given the time that has passed since its death was first announced. These dire warnings were and continue to be issued by companies that long to erase tape from the IT vocabulary. EMC, Sepaton, Data Domain and similar companies have even handed out clever bumper stickers at trade shows. (“Tape sucks” … Go ahead, debase the language. The literate are beaten down once again by the ignorant.) In fact, Sepaton, a company whose name reversed spells notapes, sells virtual tape libraries. Wait, virtual tape. Tape.  notapeS/Sepaton relies on a mutation of existing tape technology for its architecture. Their systems are configured to operate with all major tape libraries, meaning that the company’s very existence, despite declaring the death of tape in its very name, depends on tape. Tape: dead and undead. Tape scores the highest possible rating on the zombie index.

The zombie nature of tape is further verified in that tape truly is deathless—at least in the near term. Tape has a shelf life of 30 years given appropriate storage conditions, and data written to tape fifty years ago[1] can still be retrieved. This makes tape an ideal candidate for long-term data protection.

Tape resurrects data in spite of natural and manmade disaster that disk falls prey to, such as a long-term power outage (which commonly occurs in the zombie literature). Tape displays additional zombie-like characteristics, including a merciless spread around the globe. First, consider that 3.5 million LTO drives[2] have been shipped worldwide, according to IDC; and consider the 15 million little zombies, called LTO tape cartridges, that have been shipped since LTO’s inception in the year 2000.

That means that anyone among you may have heard of, or touched, or been infected by the LTO zombie. Ms. Meade promises to periodically keep everyone informed about the LTO Zombie Invasion, 2011!


[1]  “Whom Does NASA Call to Recover Lost Data?” NewsUSA, January 28. 2010.http://www.copyrightfreecontent.com/environment/whom-does-nasa-call-to-recover-lost-data/

[2] LTO Consortium, “LTO Program Celebrates 10 Years of Changing the Face of the Storage Industry,” Press Release, November 18, 2010.