This is not a new revelation, but it is commonly known that data storage managers face a myriad of problems today. The biggest, in my opinion, is that their organizations are experiencing explosive data storage growth with budgets that aren’t keeping pace. This is perpetuated by new regulations, litigation issues, new technologies, social media, etc. However, having more data isn’t the problem. Really? Having more data actually solves many problems and is a key component in a company remaining competitive in a thriving marketplace. More data has the potential to increase revenue, transform economies, improve biomedical research into disease prevention and cures, streamline manufacturing processes, and the list could go on. So, I say again, the growth of data isn’t the problem. Managing the growth of the data in the most cost-effective manner and staying within budget constraints is the real problem or challenge for those who manage it, unless their budgets and resources have grown in lockstep with the growth of the data. I haven’t found one customer yet who has told me that it has.
Here is the other problem you face as a data storage manager. There are simply too many vendors with too many options with too many “solutions” to your growth problem. If they sell disk, they are obviously going to tell you that disk is the answer to all your storage growth issues. If they sell flash or SSD technologies, they are going to tell you that flash is the way of the future and will eventually replace all disk. If that disk vendor offers a SAN, they will tell you it is the technology of choice for the problem solving seeker. If that disk vendors offers a NAS, they will tell you the same. There are even those who can’t make up their mind and want to offer you both with no guidance as to what is best suited for your specific requirements. If they sell tape, they will tell you that tape is green and can save you green. Oh, and everybody says they are “green.” The definition of green has gotten so ambiguous, it is hard to even know what that means anymore. I’m not going to argue with any of the proposed solutions mentioned above, as they all have merit. The issue I have with them is that they are all self-serving. In other words, if a sales rep is telling you that disk will solve ALL your problems and that “tape is dead.”he/she isn’t doing you any favors because that is simply not true. A disk sales rep gets paid to sell disk so their effort to do so is not always customer-serving. I’m not going to break down all the attributes of each of the aforementioned technologies in this blog, however, let’s focus on the attributes and benefits of a blended solution.
What if there was a 33-year-old, debt-free company known within the archive and backup industry as the most experienced and respected leader in the field, that has experienced significant growth and profitability over the past 20 years, and continues to invest heavily with top line profits every year in new technologies and new ways to help customers protect and preserve their data? What if this company could provide a turnkey hardware platform inclusive of disk and tape that can solve your data management problem within your budget and provide you a single support contract for it all? Spectra Logic is that company and nTier Verde NAS and our tape libraries are the perfect “blended” solution you have been looking for.
We offer the nTier Verde NAS archive grade disk platform starting as small as 24TB and scaling to 1.7PB combined with our tape library systems that can scale to multiple Exabytes! Blending an archive solution from Spectra can be an inexpensive, yet reliable and robust system and very likely the last archive platform you have to purchase because of its virtually unlimited scalability. The exact blend of disk and tape within your environment is a much deeper conversation to have but there will be more technical information forthcoming on a future blog.
Here are just a few high level considerations when architecting a blended disk and tape archive solution:
- What budget do you have to work with to archive and protect your data? If your budget is large enough, you can architect more disk into your archive than tape. You may also prefer to invest it all into disk. If you budget allows for this, go for it. However, remember that disk and tape have differing attributes and benefits when archiving and backing up the data. For example, disk having quick access for reading or writing because it offers immediate random access to the location of a file anywhere on the disk. Tape on the other hand, is more reliable than disk, but it may take longer to find and retrieve a file from an archive or backup because of the multi-step process to get, mount, spin up and linearly locate the file.
- What value do you place on your data from the time it is created until it has reached the end of its policy driven life cycle?
- Do you have any SLAs, RPOs or RTOs in place to dictate policy in determining how quickly data needs to be retrieved or recovered?
- What is your retention policy? How long are you required to keep and archive data, and to what subset of data does that apply to within the organization?
As you can see, there are is a significant amount of pre-planning required to architect the right solution for your organization. A blended solution of disk and tape architected properly can solve two major problems that you are most likely facing. First, it can really help you get a handle on the amount of data you have today, and put in place a nice scalable solution that can grow with your increasing requirements to store and manage your data, while maintaining the appropriate access to the appropriate data sets for the foreseeable future. The second significant problem a blended solution can solve for you is to accomplish your data storage objectives within, or as close to budget as you can, making you the hero of your organization and the new friend of your CFO, shareholders, board and other stakeholders.
Stay tuned for the next couple of blogs in the month of September and our team of experts will do a deeper dive on how to architect the right solution for you. In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about our nTier Verde NAS solution.
There are many examples and customers who have leverage both disk and tape for archive. Below is a use case of a customer that used a blended solution to solve a problem and have better efficiency in their archive storage tier.
Sask Energy ? Problem solved with blended solution of tape and disk.