March 25, 2015

In 2025, 40% of all data is expected to be stored on tapes

The role of the tapes is changing. For years now, the future of tapes has been in doubt. Even specialist journals sometimes questions the future of tapes and off-site tape storage. However, various studies show that this doubt is unfounded. In the coming decades, 30 to 40% of all data is expected to be stored on tapes. De tape is still an extremely innovative technology.

The differences between cloud and off-site tape storage

One apparent new factor in the storage world is the cloud. It is important to realise that there are major differences between cloud storage and off-site tape storage. The question of whether tape, cloud or disk storage is more beneficial can no longer be universally answered. The answer is dependent on the situation and purpose of the storage. It is therefore always important to make a proper assessment.

  • Total costs: with off-site tape storage, the total costs per TB are at least 10 times lower than the TB costs with an online storage setup.
  • Transport: in many cases, physical transport (especially in case of huge amounts of data) is more inexpensive (data transfer costs are easily € 10.00 MB /sec per month).
  • Location-dependent: Whereas tape storage is location-dependent, cloud storage can be used anywhere. However, this also comes with several risks: passwords can be cracked and online data can be easily stolen or corrupted. Offline tapes are much more difficult to hack.
  • Protection against calamities: the physical location of your data is also important. In the Netherlands, one third of all data centres is located under Amsterdam Ordnance Datum or up to 3 metres above it. In the event of severe floods, these data centres are not necessarily safe.

What are the biggest concerns when deciding on storage?


The future of the tape

The role of the tapes has changed over the years. It is used more often as an archiving medium and less as a permanent storage medium. Of all stored data, no less than 70% is rarely consulted. Therefore, tape is the only medium that can be stored in one safe location for the long term (10+ years) without significant power consumption. There a reason why one of the most innovative companies in the world, Google, uses backup tape services.

An increasing amount of data

The databases at organisations are large, the value of this data is growing and the role of tape is thus increasing. Hence, producers, represented in the LTO Consortium, and experts at various universities in the Netherlands, America, France and Germany are working on the development of tape every day. As long as technological innovation continues, tape as a storage medium will enjoy a sustainable future.


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