In times of 8 TB hard disk drives (HDDs) and super -fast solid state drives (SSDs), it’s impressive that majority of companies still use the tape medium for data storage and archiving.
According to EDP, one of Germany’s well-known vendors of tape hardware, software and barcode labels, approximately 70 percent of its clients use tape or tape libraries in addition to HDDs to meet their data storage requirements.
The three main reasons, why tape storage is still important and far from dead are:
- Reduction in storage costs
HDDs achieve fast backup and restore speeds and are useful for the backup/restore of individual files and folders. However, the use of HDDs generates higher costs than the use of magnetic tapes because the disks must be run continuously and replaced frequently due to their shorter life span.
For large amounts of data which do not need to be accessed often or quickly the use of magnetic tapes is optimal as storage medium. They can be stored outside of the storage system and have longevity above and beyond HDDs.
- Tape is the medium of choice for long-term storage of data
Legal and compliance requirements require companies in certain industries to retain data for a long period of time. Due to the longer durability and significantly lower energy costs, tapes remain the medium of choice for archiving and long-term data storage. In most cases, companies do not need to access the data stored on these tapes in real time. Requests for this type of data often allows for several weeks of time for restoring these files. The fast data availability provided by HDDs or SSDs is therefore not necessary here.
- It is no question of “either or”
For companies with large or growing data, a long-term data storage strategy is only possible with a combination of HDDs and magnetic tapes. In addition to the costs facet the longer durability is also a key factor for the use of magnetic tapes. Hard disks however remain essential to restore select data within minutes. It makes sense to establish a multistage backup and archiving concept, which combines the advantages of both storage devices, allowing for optimum use.
I’m sure you have all heard that tape is dying, but it is clear to us that it is still in use for long-term, cold, storage. Now it might not be the all-encompassing storage solution, but with it’s capacity, longevity and low-maintenance, I see it sticking around for a while.