Comparing Storage Technologies: Pros, Cons and Future Predictions – Part Two

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Last week in Part One of “Comparing Storage Technologies: Pros, Cons and Future Predictions,” I discussed the pros and cons of solid-state storage and magnetic disk, and shared predictions for where Spectra believes the two technologies are headed. This week, I will cover two additional technologies: Tape and Optical Disc.

Modern interior of server room in datacenter. IT Engineer in Action Configuring Servers.

3. Tape: Tape has been around for more than 40 years and the need for tape in the long-term archive market continues to grow. Digital tape for secondary storage however has been experiencing a year to year decline and some small tape systems are being displaced by cloud storage solutions.

  • Cost – Today, the cheapest storage medium is LTO-6 tape with roughly a $25 price for 2.5TB of storage or $.01/GB.
  • Capacity – Tape has the highest potential for capacity improvement (product roadmap).
  • Accessibility – Accessing specific data on stored tape can be a slow process.
    Predictions: LTO-8 and IBM® TS1155 Tape Technology will begin shipping in 2017. As we progress down the roadmap, we can expect increased capacities and lower costs. Spectra foresees flash technology and tape coexisting, and becoming the prevailing storage technologies for online and archive needs.

4. Optical Disc: Optical disc is a new storage medium, announced in 2014 by Sony and Panasonic. Trademarked “Archival Disc,” it is designed for long-term digital storage.

  • Longevity – Optical disc is a good fit for customers that have definitive, long-term archive requirements. Lifetime guarantee of 50 years or more. No migration required to newer formats and technologies.
  • Backward Read – Sony and Panasonic are guaranteeing backward read compatibility of all future drives.
  • Interchangeability – There is no interchange between two drives. Disc written with one vendor’s drive may or may not be readable with the others.
  • Cost – Optical disc falls in between flash and disk in terms of price and is 10 times more expensive than tape.
    • Predictions: Optical disc is to be introduced at a 300GB capacity point as write-once. Future drives will allow for backward read compatibility. The storage medium will find favor for customers that have definitive long-term archival requirements where cost is not an issue.

    Interested in learning more? Check out Spectra Logic’s new white paper “Digital Data Storage Outlook 2017,” for further predictions on storage media development and availability.

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