BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
In recent years, tape has earned a reputation for being an outdated technology. This is hardly surprising given...
that newer technologies, such as continuous data protection and cloud backup, easily overcome some of the most problematic limitations associated with magnetic tape storage.
But is tape truly dead? Hardly.
Today, organizations are generating data at an unprecedented rate, and exponential data growth has become the norm. One of the main problems with the "big data way of doing things" is that unbridled data growth strains storage resources. For companies that store the bulk of their data on premises, it can be tough to keep up with capacity demands. For organizations that store most of their data in the public cloud, data growth results in ever-increasing storage costs.
Backup systems are not immune to these growing pains. Modern disk-based backup systems are plagued by capacity limitations and spiraling costs associated with backup storage consumption. Sure, data reduction methods, such as deduplication, can help to reduce the rate at which storage is consumed, but ultimately, organizations absolutely must have a plan in place for coping with rampant storage growth.
As most IT pros know, magnetic tape storage was the definitive backup media type for decades. There were some good reasons for this. No technology remains dominant for that long unless it provides compelling advantages.
There have been plenty of backup mediums to compete with tape over the years. Magnetic tape storage maintained its dominance for the better part of half a century because tapes are comparatively cheap, they are portable and they have high capacity.
So, consider how those particular attributes could be beneficial in today's big data world. Companies today have so much data that they struggle to store it all. Public clouds offer unlimited storage capacity but bill their subscribers month after month for the storage space that they are consuming.
Magnetic tape storage remains a highly viable option for data archiving. Data that needs to be retained but that is unlikely to be accessed in the near future can be moved off of primary storage and onto a tape. This approach can greatly reduce storage costs, while also freeing up disk storage for newly created data.