Is the Tape Industry Dead?

Is the Tape Industry Dead?

With all this talk about the cloud and how amazing it is, coupled with the fact that the usage of disk based backup solutions are increasing, people are starting to wonder if the tape industry is dead.

Why back up to tape, when I can back up to the cloud? That’s one question I hear a lot. For starters, the cloud has proved itself to be unsecure. There is no better example of this than the “hackathon” of celebrity’s intimate photos that took place over the long holiday weekend. Dozens of A-list celebrities who had their photos stored on the cloud, were hacked and had the photos leaked online. As terrible as this is for them, there is a valuable lesson we can all learn from this. The cloud is not nearly secure enough to store your vital data.

These pictures on the cloud were hacked and posted online by a single amateur hacker. Now imagine if this was your customer’s credit card information, or medical records? The results could potentially be catastrophic for your company. All this havoc achieved by someone who isn’t even a professional hacker. If this doesn’t send a strong message that the cloud is still in its infancy stage and should not be used for storing vital data, then you’re most certainly in denial.

You may be asking, “What does this have to do with the future of tape?” That’s simple. We can now rule out the cloud as a replacement backup solution. That leaves disk based backup, which there is nothing wrong with, but is it the best? Let’s do a little comparison of tape and disk. Both tape products and disk products are steadily increasing capacity and speed with each generation, but what about security?

I don’t know a single person who would sacrifice security for speed or for capacity when it comes to the archival of their vital data. Tape offers a significantly stronger protection against malware and viruses. Viruses that are capable of allowing unauthorized people to gain access to your most important data. Just like the photos of the celebrities that were leaked. One virus can infect every computer and disk storage system in an entire office before you even knew it was there. Versus your data stored on offline tapes would be perfectly secure and unharmed.

Now let’s talk about how much you’re going to spend to keep your data secure. Several recent analyst studies have mapped out that disk storage backup can cost anywhere from two, to fifteen times more money to implement than a tape based solution for long term archival. These same studies show that the cost to run and cool a datacenter could cost up to 200 times more for disk solutions. Whether you use one disk backup solution or use an entire datacenter, these extra costs will trickle down to you and you will be paying more money for a less secure way to store your data.

You may be thinking that the extra money is worth it for the capacity and speed difference. Let me assure you, you aren’t up to date with current tape advances. Enter LTO6. LTO6 tape has a native capacity of 2.5TB and compressed, users can get 6.25TB of data on a single tape. How about speed? LTO6 offers a speed of 160MB/Second, or if using compressed data, users can get speeds of 400MB/Second or 1.4 TB/Hour. Good luck finding a disk based storage system that can match those speeds.

Enter LTO7. Not on the market yet, but surely soon to hit due to LTO6 coming out in 2012. In this roadmap published by the industry consortium that sets the LTO standards, LTO7 tapes will offer the user 6.4TB of uncompressed data, and soon after that LTO8 tapes will bring the user 12.8TB of uncompressed data storage. Do you see where I am going here? Tape is certainly anything but dead.

You heard it here from your friendly neighborhood tape backup solution reseller and refurbisher. InStock Inc. Visit us today at and be sure to like us on facebook to see all our great offers and repairs.

StorageTek SL500 Tape Library Questions

StorageTek SL500 Tape Library Questions

When browsing around the internet, we have come across many questions asked about the StorageTek SL500award winning modular tape library, the StorageTek SL500. We’d be happy to answer some of those StorageTek SL500 questions for you guys in this week’s posting.

1. One question was regarding the StorageTek SL500 robotic arm. Apparently every time the user would power on their library, the SL500 robotic arm would stay in the down position at the bottom of the library. The service robot and service required LED lights would then illuminate.

This could be a matter of a foreign object jamming the robotic picker assembly, but the problem is most likely the robotic picker assembly itself. The way the StorageTek SL500 tape library works, is it uses a series of internal barcodes which the robotic picker assembly uses to determine its location. Chances are the barcode scanner has stopped working and needs to be replaced.

2. A company had recently bought a refurbished StorageTek SL500 tape library, and was trying to connect to it with no avail. They simply stated they can’t connect to their StorageTek SL500 library. They searched the internet for a default user name and password, but did not have any luck finding this.

The reason they could not find a default user name and password is because the StorageTek SL500 tape library does not have a default password. Each library is a unique machine, and therefore the admin password is generated when the SL500 is first activated by typing in the activation code. Only after that can the password be changed. If you lose the password, the only way to gain access is to reset the StorageTek SL500 to factory default. However, doing this requires that you get a new activation code. So basically in a nut shell, if you have a StorageTek SL500 tape library, and you don’t know the admin password, you either have to go back to the seller that you purchased it from, or you must wipe the activation and then re activate it. However to do that, you will need to contact Oracle/Sun/StorageTek and deal with them. So the moral of the story, is don’t lose your password for you StorageTek SL500, or you might be in for a large headache trying to get it up and running again.

3. How to configure the cleaning tapes for your StorageTek SL500 tape library? The user was running NB on 2008 R2. They had just upgraded their original LTO3 drives to LTO4 drives, and were now using HP LTO4 drives in their SL500. They had taken over the library from another company who left out the cleaning regimen. The user bought new cleaning tapes, added them to the SL500 library, and then assigned them to the appropriate volume pool. After resetting the drives and configuring them to run cleaning every 48 hours, the user then decided that he wanted to run at least one manual clean first to test out the process. When attempting the manual clean, the library was showing a “96 error” (Media Not Available) After this the user was unsure of their original cleaning configuration.

To avoid this error, the media that you are using for cleaning must match the density of the SL500 drive. After this is complete, you must make sure that the tapes are placed into the “NONE” volume pool, and they must have less than more than 0 cleaning remaining. Manual cleaning is usually not recommended as the drives should not be cleaned until the drive itself prompts the user saying that it needs a cleaning. The reason for this is that the cleaning tapes for the StorageTek SL500 are fairly abrasive and will definitely wear down the LTO4 drive heads every time they are used. After changing to HCART-CLN and NONE pool, the cleaning process worked.

Here at InStock, our StorageTek trained technicians are always available to answer any and all questions like these about the StorageTek SL500 every day on the phone. InStock will never turn down a customer asking for technical support on any equipment that is sold or repaired by us. Visit our StorageTek SL500 page for more information, or give us a call today!

(877) 786-2533

LTO4-HP4FC-SL85Z Sun/StorageTek LTO 4 Tape Drive

LTO4-HP4FC-SL85Z Sun/StorageTek LTO 4 Tape Drive

This particular LTO4 tape drive (LTO4-HP4FC-SL85Z) is for the StorageTek SL8500 tape library. Featuring 120 MB/Sec transfer rate, 800 GB native capacity, this is the perfect drive if you are looking to upgrade to LTO4. The LTO4-HP4FC-SL85Z has encryption and supports hot swap. It is a 4gb fibre channel tape drive module designed specifically for the StorageTek SL8500 library. Fibre Channel is a high-speed network technology, that runs at 2, 4, 6, 8 or 16 gb per second rates! Making this a high speed LTO 4 drive.

For more information or quotes on pricing, visit

LTO 4 otherwise know as Linear Tape Open (4th generation) is a form of data storage technology for magnetic tape. LTO 4 has an uncompressed storage capacity of 800 GB, while boasting a cool 1.6TB compressed. This is a significant upgrade from LTO 3 which has a storage capacity of 400GB uncompressed and a compressed storage capacity of 800 GB. This is souble the capacity of LTO3. LTO4 tape drives such as the LTO4-HP4FC-SL85Z are also backward compatible, meaning they can read to and write to LTO3. This ensures a seamless upgrade from LTO3 to LTO4.