Victor Nemechek

Magnetic Tape is the McDonald’s Hamburger of the IT World!

Blog Post created by Victor Nemechek Employee on Nov 29, 2016

It is hard to believe, but magnetic tape storage has been around longer than McDonald’s hamburgers. And tape drives remain a fixture in many IT shops today, but tape’s inefficiencies in backup, recovery and restore in an always-on business climate now far outweigh the technology’s economic benefits.


So just like most of us have moved on from eating those little cardboard-like hamburgers from McDonald’s to more delicious and nutritious food, now is the time to move secondary storage functions to the cloud.


Tape drives have been a staple in most enterprises as a relatively inexpensive and standardized medium to store data for long periods of time. Some industries and workloads, such as government and certain regulatory environments, still demand the removable media and standard data interchange provided by tape drives.


But backup, along with other secondary storage functions such as archiving, recovery and restore, looks and behaves very different today than it did in the era before 24/7 e-commerce, compliance and prohibitively expensive downtime.


While tape still remains a relatively low-cost secondary storage solution due to its low capital expense, there are several important pain points associated with continuing to use tape storage for enterprise-class workloads. The severity of these challenges have grown in direct relationship to the growing importance of secondary storage in data protection, risk mitigation, compliance, e-discovery and business continuity.


In a nutshell, while tape storage is cheap from a Capex perspective, it is far more expensive than generally understood on the Opex side. And, even more importantly, tape storage is slow—far too slow, in fact, for the demands of today’s work cycles. As data expands dramatically in volume, variety and velocity, tape has become a severe bottleneck for organizations grappling with lengthening backup windows, performance lags, latency and increasing manual intervention.


Many organizations have realized this and are moving to the cloud as a more efficient and effective way to handle secondary storage, reducing or even completely eliminating their need for a seemingly endless supply of tape cartridges. This move also is being accelerated by the emergence of new cloud storage techniques that are making cloud-based secondary storage far more economical and flexible than ever.


So, can we finally stop using tape?


Yes! The revolution is on and now is the time to use Cloud and finally stop using magnetic tape for long term data retention and Disaster Recovery, but you will have to use some packing tape to box up all those old tapes before sending them to the dump.


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Hitachi has some of the most advanced data protection solutions for your environment. Ask one of our data protection experts or an HDS TrueNorth Partner to show you how to make the switch from tape to Cloud.