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"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," part two

2/9/2023 by Mike Zwolski

In the first part of this post, I talked about the origin of the myth that tape was dead. I also talked about the fact that tape’s value is squeezing disk out of the data storage picture.

That’s not a bad message. After all, tape is the greenest of technologies for holding data. As data moves from being hot (active) to cold (inactive), the volume of data held on tape will be limitless. This is good because tape uses no power or energy to just sit on a cartridge.

Further, the media has a decades-long shelf life, and IBM software lets you look at tape files with ease of looking at disk files.

BTW – you are using tape today, in the cloud, you just don’t know it!

Case in point: IBM recently previewed a tape product they code named “Diamondback” (presumably after the snake). Using currently available Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tape drives and a new model of IBM robotics, IBM has created for large hyper-scalers a low cost and massive storage device.

Think 25 PB (yes, Petabytes) of uncompressed data in one nineteen-inch rack footprint. That’s 100 PB in one rack assuming reasonable compression. That would hold a whole lot of your parent’s CDs or floppy disks!

Funny thing is, that same technology is available today to all IBM customers with tape drive and tape library products that deliver the same values as the big guys get. Who knew!

But best of all, you don’t need to be huge to save money. A customer archiving just 100 TB of data (not a lot by today’s standards) for multiple years can save a lot. If you have a 5% recall rate of data back to on-premise, your cost with tape onsite could be one tenth the cost of keeping it in the cloud.

Why not keep your cloud onsite and save some cash?

IBM has a tool for their customers to help them qualify the cost of storage of archive data. It compares disk, tape, and cloud. It’s populated with publicly available data and available as-is for customers to use. If you don’t like their assumptions, change them!

The point is, put in some simple data and see what you could be saving. If you are one of those customers trying to do more with less, try tape. If money is no object, stay with the cloud; they will pocket the savings you are missing because they already know the price metrics shared above. Tape rocks!

Want to know more about rocking with tape? Just contact us.

About the author

Michael Zwolski is a zSystems and Storage Solution Advisor with LRS IT Solutions. With more than 30 years of experience supporting Fortune 100 IBM customers in the areas of mainframe and enterprise storage, Michael is skilled at interfacing between technical and business resources. His knowledge of IBM storage solutions including DS8000, FlashSystem, SVC, and TS7000 and others make him a valuable asset on storage projects.