Tape: The Best Four-Letter Word

tapeIn a recent ESG blog titled “Tape is not a four-letter word, ” Jason Buffington discusses how today’s tape technology is very relevant for an organization’s data preservation. In this BlogBytes, we will review some of these storage factors including how NBC utilized LTO tape technology to manage the massive amount of video created during the 2016 Olympics. We’ll also take a peek at a few more four-letter words to see how they are relevant to storing data.

cloudDisk – Tape – Cloud

In Buffington’s post, he discusses disk, cloud and tape. He notes that disk is used mainly for initial storage with snapshot replicas while suggesting that tape is used for ultimate backup and disaster recovery. He states that cloud is not a medium; it is a consumption model for service delivered by disk and tape mediums. He believes that tape is as relevant as it’s ever been, stating: “There are many organizations that need to re-discover what modern tape (not legacy stuff) really can do for their data protection and data management strategies.”

Top Two Business Initiatives

In a recent  ESG study, reviewed in BlogBytes, it was found that increasing cyber security and reducing costs were the top two business initiatives for organizations.  These are likely because of the ever-present threats to data security and because data center budgets typically fall far short of storage investment requirements to keep up with the ever-growing amount of data. It’s no surprise that a four-letter word can help solve these issues: Tape. One example of this was during the 2016 Olympic Games. NBC’s coverage of the Olympics generated hundreds of thousands of hours of video content. How did NBC manage this daunting task of storing all this content? Here’s the story.

NBC – Archive Gold in Rio with LTO Technologyrio

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro saw many records broken on the track, in the pool, and in a number of other events. However, NBC was breaking some video storage records behind-the-scenes. A Sportsvideo.org article describes how “this year’s event saw more digital coverage than ever, nearly double the amount of TV coverage and 2.5 times more than London 2012 (218,000 hours versus 81,500 hours). NBC exceeded a staggering 2.5 billion live-streaming minutes, more than 1 billion more than all previous Olympic Games combined.”  NBC’s thousands of hours of recordings were stored on two medium sized LTO tape libraries, which definitely deserve a virtual archive gold medal. In the article, Jim Miles, director, Digital Workflow Systems, NBC Olympics, said, “Once the Games began, we logged every aspect of the competition so we can tell that story again next time. This workflow isn’t just for the Olympics but all our other entities, such as NHL and NFL; we go back to the archives constantly.”

safe-costMore Four-Letter Words

ESG’s viewpoint and NBC’s giant LTO Olympic archive project bring to mind some additional four-letter words that are associated with LTO tape:

Huge LTO generation-7 technology can store giant amounts of data at up to 15 TBs per cartridge.  See the LTO Technology Roadmap.

Easy – Utilizing tape is a straightforward process requiring very little administrative personnel. When paired with the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), accessing data on tape is easily done in a manner like using a disk drive or a USB stick!

Safe – LTO technology supports hardware encryption to help protect precious data content from unwarranted access. Additionally, an LTO cartridge can be removed from the system which guards against electronic access from hackers and viruses seeking to steal and corrupt data.

Cost – LTO technology has been shown to be the lowest cost method of digital data storage, which helps to stretch tight storage budgets with low acquisition costs and low energy consumption.

LTO technology is great!  Well now…a five-letter word!