The Value of Tape is Compelling for You and the Cloud

IT storage managers experience daily pressures from all directions. Not only must they control costs, address compliance requirements, manage exponential data growth and make data available when it is needed, but also protect and secure short and long-term storage in the most cost-effective way.  In this BlogBytes article, we will discuss how LTO tape technology can help you manage some of these in-house pressures and learn how the value of tape can be compelling for both you and the cloud.

Controlling Hot and Cold Data Costs

Managing storage budgets both in-house and on the cloud is a top priority for many storage managers. Numerous cost-control variables can make a manager’s head spin! Some of these costs include hardware acquisition costs, software and maintenance charges, storage media needs, energy and power costs, floor space, personnel, data migration and data access costs. What many managers have found is that a blend of disk and tape technologies can help manage data access objectives and cost variables. For hot data that requires frequent access, flash and high-end disk can address urgent demands. As the data cools and doesn’t require such frequent access, you should think about storing such data on tape for protection which can greatly reduce the cost burden. LTO tape technology has been shown to reduce up to 85% of total storage costs compared to disk systems.

Addressing Compliance Requirements

Whether it is internal policies or regulations like SOX, HIPPA and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) 17A4, managing ever-changing regulatory requirements can be daunting. As discussed in an article by SearchStorage, “Data storage compliance’s impact on storage product choices,” there are over 10,000 regulations that affect data storage, backup and protection across a range of industries. The article notes that tiered storage and Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) are two implementations intended to enhance regulatory storage efficiency. LTO technology is an essential layer in these implementations.

Not only is LTO-7 technology fast (up to 700MB/sec) and has substantial capacity  (up to 15TBs of data per cartridge), but  it also supports Write Once Read Many (WORM) technology that keeps data secure and tape data encryption to prevent unauthorized access to the data.

 Protecting Assets for the Short and Long Haul

Most organizations backup their data on a regular basis. Backups are typically performed from disk-to-disk, disk-to-tape or disk-to-cloud.  No matter what methodology is used, data is potentially vulnerable to a variety of unintentional and intentional corruptions, including:

  • Natural Disasters – for example floods, fires, lightning and earthquakes
  • External Disaster – such as electrical malfunction, local and regional power outages and water pipe breakages etc.
  • Computer/Administrative Glitches – including accidental file deletion, hardware & software corruption and human error.
  • Cyber Attacks are on the rise, so ensure you are protected against viruses, ransomware, malware, spyware and phishing.

It is essential that strong data security measures are taken to protect data that is backed up for short term use and archived for long-term storage. Two key elements that must be utilized for ultimate protection are sometimes overlooked:

  1. Store data offline – use LTO tape media to help prevent electronic access to confidential data. Unlike most storage mediums, a tape cartridge can be removed from the online system and deny access to the data which can prevent data corrupters such as software glitches or cyber-attacks. In one instance, software bugs affected several copies of Google Gmail users’ data. According to the official Gmail blog [1], a storage software update at Google introduced the unexpected bug, which caused about 85,000 users to temporarily lose access to their email. The bug affected multiple online replicated copies of the data – some copies of mail were even deleted! Ben Treynor, Google Vice President of Engineering and Site Reliability Czar stated, “To protect your information from these unusual bugs we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs.”
  2. Store data out-of-region – natural disasters can be region-wide, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. It is imperative that a copy of critical content be stored at a location that is remote to the facility. This can be accomplished in a number of techniques including disk-to-disk replication, disk-to-tape and disk-to-cloud. In addition, LTO tapes can be readily mailed from one location to another to provide out-of-region protection.

If you choose a cloud service provider, make sure they are using LTO technology as the back-store to provide offline safeguards, economical storage, encryption capabilities, WORM technology, and long-term preservation.

No matter where your data is located, in-house or in the cloud, utilize LTO tape storage to help alleviate the pressures IT professionals face on a daily basis!

[1]    Treynor, B. “Gmail back soon for everyone”, Official Gmail Blog, February 28, 2011