“IT services [have] placed energy usage, carbon emissions and the overall environmental impact of data centers squarely in the bull’s eye for most organizations to address.” This quote comes from a compelling 2023 report from the Tape Storage Council that discusses key variables affecting the storage marketplace. This BlogBytes will review some of the eye catching insights including the shift to secondary storage, big data trends, social media impact, cloud repatriation, data center sustainability benefits from tape, LTO technology milestones and LTO roadmap details. Get the complete report here. Let’s go!

The Tape Storage Council (TSC) consists of representatives from across the storage provider spectrum.  TSC is dedicated to promoting the current trends, usages and technology innovations occurring within the tape storage industry. The 2023 Tape Market Outlook Report hits the mark on a number of compelling topics like the shift to secondary storage.


The report states that “TRENDFOCUS projects installed storage capacity across all enterprise data centers is expected to reach ~8.4 ZBs by 2025 with at least 80% (~6.72 ZB) classified as archival or cold data making secondary storage by far the largest data storage market. These projections indicate that most of the world’s cold data would continue to reside on costly, energy consuming HDDs.” That’s’ right, much of this data could continue to reside on high cost, high energy consuming disk storage until organizations make a strategic shift and take advantage of cost and security benefits that tape storage can provide. More on tape benefits down below.


“Big data applications generate data faster than it can be analyzed, significantly extending data retention timeframes and filling data lakes which ignore any size limits.” The report examines the on-going growth of data and tools being implemented to help organize manage and analyze the data. It notes that estimates indicate that over 90% of organizations are “implementing AI and ML technology to mine Big Data to gain competitive advantages, deeper customer insights.” These significantly contribute to the requirements for secondary storage. Lots more on this subject in the full report.


“As of January 2023, there were 4.76 billion social media users and 5.07 billion internet users worldwide, almost 63.5% of the world’s population,” as stated in the report. Social media use has had a tremendous impact on information dissemination and more over on the requirements to manage the immense amount of data created by this activity. As noted in the report, “…understanding how to properly incorporate tape and HDDs makes this a classic use case for a highly scalable, cost-effective active archive implementation.” Tape technology can be a key element in an active archive implementation. The report also lists how much data is created every 60 seconds by a variety of applications and additional remarkable stats. Check it out.


What is cloud repatriation? As the report explains it is a “shift away from the cloud and back to an [on premise] storage infrastructure. Repatriation is a strategic initiative, gaining momentum and fueling the rise of tape based hybrid clouds. Many enterprises have experienced significantly higher costs associated with cloud storage outsourcing compared to on premises storage.” The report explains that “The hybrid tape cloud provides organizations with much better TCO, higher security, availability and fault tolerance since data is stored both on-premises and in a cloud storage infrastructure increasing the effectiveness of the popular 3-2-1-1 data protection strategy.”


Many data centers worldwide are implementing sustainability programs to decrease CO2 emissions and energy consumption.  The report explains that “Servers and HDDs are the two largest consumers of data center energy. Tape cartridges containing low activity data spend most of their lifetime residing in library slots or offline racks consuming energy only when they are mounted in a tape drive.” Data stored on tape can help reduce energy consumption and data center carbon emissions helping to achieve sustainability objectives.


Earlier this year the LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs) released their annual tape media shipment report. The report reveals 148.3 Exabytes of total tape capacity (compressed) shipped in 2022 an increase over 2021. The TSC report states, “This result was driven by continued hyperscaler and enterprise investment in LTO technology.” In addition, the need to control storage costs, address green initiatives, and protect data from the ever present cyberattack threat makes tape storage a necessary part of the storage hierarchy. The report also examines the LTO Ultrium Technology Roadmap which shows plans from the current LTO-9 technology out to LTO Generation-14 with compressed cartridge capacities planned at up to 1,440 TBs.

There is a lot more to glean in this captivating report including how tape can reduce carbon emissions and eWaste and how tapes air gap capability can provide cybercrime and ransomware protection. See the full TSC report here.