Tape is not about to go away

July 2005
Storage Magazine;Jul2005, Vol. 4 Issue 5, p14
This article discusses the need for tape backup systems in long-term archiving. Tape is not as popular a medium for backup as it was a few years ago, but when it comes to long-term archiving, it still has long coverage. The LTO Consortium is promoting the availability of its LTO-3 WORM cartridges, which can store up to 800 gigabytes (GB) of compressed data in a compliance-friendly format for approximately $.16 per-GB. From a raw media cost perspective, pricing for 800GB of Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) disk drives comes to approximately $.65 per-GB. Over the long term, tape's price advantage is actually much greater. A white paper by Data Mobility Group titled, Is Tape Really Cheaper Than Disk?, finds that over seven years, the cost of maintaining data on disk rather than tape is almost an order of magnitude higher. The latest vendor to recognize tape's appeal is, of course, sun Microsystems, which in June 2005 announced it would acquire StorageTek for $4.1 billion. But the company has been talking up tape for much longer. Earlier in spring 2005, Sun announced its Content Infrastructure System, which includes servers, a hierarchical storage management file system, Fibre Channel and SATA disk and, naturally, tape.


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