Tape Reigning Champion

Tape – The Reigning Champion of Low-Cost Storage

In his article, “Ten ways storage and backup administrators can save time and money,” Curtis Breville discusses the relevance of tape backup as the “reigning champion of low-cost storage”. Brenville talks about the ongoing costs of equipment acquisition and the mass amounts of data that can be archived with tape technology.

He uses the Sun/StorageTek SL8500 tape library as an example:StorageTek STK SL8500 Tape Library

  • Huge Capacity: the STK SL8500 will hold 8,500 tapes.
  • Tape Cartridge: LTO-4 tape cartridges holds 800 GB of data natively, 1.6 TB at the industry accepted 2:1 compression rate.  8,500 x 1.6 TB equals 13.6 petabytes of information stored.
  • Cost Breakdown: LTO4 cartridge costs approximately $50 per cartridge. Assuming the tape library will be around $500K (new), $425K for tape cartridges to hold that amount, and say $75K for 10 (new) tape drives to read/write the data, you are looking at storing 13 petabytes of data for $1 million.  And InStock can get you a similar refurbished tape library for a fraction of that cost.

He states,”There’s no denser, less-expensive storage solution that can even get to $2 million for the initial cost outlay to store that amount of information.”  Tape is a “greener” alternative as well since when it is not running it does not utilize electricity or extra energy.

In order to maintain offsite duplication of data, tape wins as well.  The highly mobile tape cartridges are much easier to move from location to location for data conversion, security and disaster recovery. The higher cost alternative is having the same capacity of disk sitting in a remote location.

April 14 , 2009 at 1:44 PM