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November 11, 2010


P. Clarke Thomas

I don't believe tape will ever disappear. Depending on the organizations historical requirements, e.g., HIPAA, SEC, etc, would help to determine how much data is kept at quick/easy access(disk) vs tape. Plus if you were a government agency or needed to keep ancient data, you wouldn't keep 20+ year old data on disk if it's rarely being accessed.

That being said, I did love the Centerra I was last using for dedupe & archival of low access data. As for live data, for smaller organizations I can see the need for basic backup. Are we possibly, now at the point where the consumers(users/mgmt) want more instantaneous access....such as purely switching to a new datacenter (within minutes) with little to no data loss. Thus no longer rebuilding machines, more so just powering them on.


"One of the industry studies I get shows the aggregate market for tape libraries and tape media year over year. Every study shows mostly the same thing: the market for both shrinks anywhere from 20% to 30%"

I wonder how much of this is due to LTO capacities doubling
every few years?

But I know of largish (for us) customers that are forced to do
blended de-dupe solutions. Large databases and large amounts
of images don't lend themselves to de-dupe. Also, disk
isn't as green as LTO. I've read elsewhere that LTO tape is
230 times as energy efficient as disk, and 3 times more cost
effective (not sure about exact numbers, I suppose I could
google it). Also, SOX compliance explodes retention times
and a number of de-dupe long term retention work-arounds
are brutal.

Finally, LTO5 native capacity is 1.6 TB, at least 3 TB
compressed. 3.2 TB native for LTO6 in the future. I'd think
LTO makes sense for most customers. Greener, high capacity
and pretty cheap in comparison especially for long-term
retention requirements.


You might listen latest InfoSmack on Storage Monkeys about Tape vs Disks and my comments at the bottom too.

In my view we might see high performance spinning disks disappear faster than tape. SSD will take a much bigger place in less than 5 years.

I see good marketing strategies for those who offer only disks solutions and do not manufacture tape.

But tape manufacture are much less today than it used to be. So their offering is must less and R&D too. They did not fix most media handling and expand on dedup. Bottom line they could have done a better job understanding what are customer pain with physical tape.

Virtual tape and other technologies are great for 24 to 72 hours. Somehow tape fit very well by protecting data against just about any threat can happen in the data center when encryption is turned on. Tape protect data very well against several admin errors, virus, fire, water-leek etc Not always the case with disks.

I love backup to disk because most servers cannot stream LTO-4 or LTO-5 tape at half of their native speed when millions of files are on your disks. Strangely no benchmark are done since LTO-3. They all compare VTL or disk solutions with old stuff.

Long live to tape...and hope SSD replace spinning disk.

W. Curtis Preston


I've been telling me kids that backup is sexy for a long time. They agree cause it pays the mortgage. ;)

Having said that, I don't know how much I agree with that annual 20/30% decrease of tape. If that were the case, the market would disappear in under 3 years.

It's obvious that more and more backups go to disk, but the bulk of backups are ALSO still going to tape. VERY FEW people are going tapeless, if for no other reason than it's much more expensive than a combo tape/disk system.


Not sure where you heard that large databases don't dedupe well. They dedupe great; if they don't your dedupe solution is crap. Images/video/audio, etc. don't dedupe, though.

You read that power stuff in the clipper group report. I debunked that report (or at least much of it) on my blog when it came out.

But LTO does make a lot of sense for a lot of use cases. You definitely got that right.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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