December 9, 2021

Tape is a secure and sustainable solution for data storage


For us, tape has been a secure medium for offline data storage for more than 25 years. Despite the trend towards storing data in the cloud, tape is and remains a watertight method for safeguarding data. But did you know that tape storage is also a sustainable solution?

The amount of data in our digital world is increasing exponentially. And that requires enormous storage capacity. Given the growing attention being paid to sustainability and the responsibility companies have in this, storing cold data on modern tapes instead of hard disks (HDD) offers an excellent opportunity for organisations to reduce their digital footprint.

Cold data on tape: the advantages

Despite the enormous growth of data, the largest proportion of it (60% to 80%) is ‘cold data’: data which is consulted only rarely, but which is still valuable and cannot be deleted. Sometimes legislation and regulations prevent it from being deleted: the requirement to keep accounting records for seven years, for example. But cold data is still being stored on hard disks, which has a significant impact on the environment and carbon emissions.

Take a data centre that has to store 100 petabytes (PB) of data for the next ten years. We have made a comparison between the quantity of CO2-eq emissions (the effect of carbon dioxide equivalents on global warming) for data storage on HDD, 40% on HDD and 60% on tape and 100% on tape. You can see the differences in the table below.

This estimate has been made based on the media’s energy consumption and emissions in relation to the purchase of raw materials, manufacture and eventual removal of the storage media, but excluding the supporting IT infrastructure. A significant reduction in CO2-eq can ultimately be seen if companies move from HDD storage to full storage on tape: a reduction of no less than 95%.  

Lower TCO

The sustainability benefits of storing cold data on tape are considerable. An added advantage is the significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). In the comparison below, we have assumed HDDs with vast storage capacity and a tape solution which uses LTO 8 tape media and stations. Here too you can see a considerable reduction: a layered solution saves you 44% on the TCO and full tape storage saves no less than 73%.  

Transition to tape storage: action plan

The transition from traditional data storage on HDD to tape is one of the options for doing business more sustainably. But how do you do this? Start by examining and identifying the amount of cold data in your organisation. Only then will it become clear what such a business case will look like. After that, you can start migrating the data to tapes. There are plenty of technologies and methodologies available for you to use for the migration. You can also call on the help of a partner for the migration, storage and management of your data on tapes.

Storing data on tape: secure and sustainable

The ideal programme for making your organisation more sustainable focuses on minimising its CO2-eq emissions and the impact on the environment, lowering costs and straightforward implementation. If you have a large amount of cold data on still on disk, then tape storage is your chance to reduce your digital footprint and save money.

If you would prefer to read the whole report on ‘Improving Information Technology Sustainability with Modern Tape Storage’, click here.

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