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August 2017, Vol. 16, No. 6

When it comes to the role of tape, don't count it out just yet

Recently, I came across a blog post asking whether it was time to "de-tape" my archive. The writer argued that for companies to find hidden value in all the data they've amassed, including archival data, they must deploy random access media -- disk or flash -- rather than sequential or serial access media -- aka tape. He supported this approach to the role of tape by recounting a couple of anonymous use cases that required fast access to archived data for a test-dev effort or to create custom sports video products. Such use cases call into question the central thesis. One could argue data that needs to be referenced on a frequent basis, technically speaking, is no longer archival data. It has gone from cold -- to use IBM's terminology -- to warm or even hot. In other words, an archive platform, whether tape-based or not, isn't the proper platform for data that such a workload uses. The question is not whether we should de-tape archives, but whether we should better define and classify which data is archival and which data is ...

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