For being a declared dead or zombie technology (here, here or here) tape remains very much alive however its role is changing. There is no disputing that hard disk drives (HDDs) are continuing to expand their role for data protection including backup/restore, BC and DR where tape has been used for decades.


What is also occurring is that tapes role is changing from day to day backup to that of longer term data preservation including archiving with more data stored on tape today than in past history at a lower cost. In fact the continued reduced cost per tape and improved capacity as well as utilization has worked against tape from a marketing competitive standpoint. For example if you look at a chart showing tape (media and drive) revenues you see a decline, similar to what was seen a couple of years ago for HDDs.


What is not shown on some charts are how many units (drives or media) shipped with more capacity for a given price (again what was reported for HDDs a few years ago) when net capacity had increased. Vendors of tape technology have also had a rather low profile particular for those with other technologies that have received more marketing resources (people, time, money). After all, if a product is on a plateau of productivity and profitability why spend time or effort on extensive marketing or promotion vs. directing resources to get new items into the market.


As a result, for those looking to make a case that tape is on the decline based on revenues to convince customers to move away from that technology should have a marketing freebie. Recently Oracle announced a new large capacity tape drive and media following on previous announcements of enhanced LTO roadmap and future 35TByte tape capabilities announced January 2010 by Fujifilm and IBM.


For those who are interested following are some links to various topics including how SSD, HDD and tape can coexist complementing each other for different roles or functions. As to those who do not like tape, feel free to read if you like as there is also material on SSD, HDD, dedupe, cloud, data protection and other topics.


Some previous blog posts:


Here are some additional articles, commentary and reports pertaining to tape related topics:


Something tells me we will be hearing, reading or watching more about tape being alive in the months to come.


Ok, Nuff said for now


Cheers gs


Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)

twitter @storageio

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