There is no question that there is a lot of talk about abandoning tape as an archiving medium, but ultimately, it is not the technology that will determine the longevity of tape as a medium, but operational costs and business process.
Tape continues to be the lowest-cost storage medium. Comparing tape with cloud, one thing that tape has over cloud is that over time, tape will always be cheaper. While cloud storage may have a lower cost per month, it is ultimately an annuity payment. So long as data is kept, there will be a charge. Depending on the actual monthly charges multiplied by the number of months data is kept, generally tape becomes cheaper than cloud at around the second or third year.
While small and medium-sized businesses are looking to cloud as a convenient medium, larger organizations have not strayed too far from tape. For larger enterprises, it is not only the cost of the tape cartridges, but also the cost of changing business processes. It is reengineering the processes that carry the highest risk to the enterprise.
In addition, from a technology perspective, tape has the benefit of being both off-site and offline.
This was first published in January 2014