5 Key Data Tape Storage Trends for 2021

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The past decade saw the renaissance of data tape technology with dramatic improvements to capacity, reliability, performance, and TCO giving rise to new industry adoptions and functionality. This trend will only continue in 2021 as data storage and archival needs in the post-COVID digital economy demand exactly what tape has to offer. Below are 5 key contributions tape will make to the storage industry in 2021.

Containing the Growing Cost of Storage
One lingering effect of the pandemic will be the need for more cost containment in already budget-strapped IT operations. We are well into the “zettabyte age,” and storing more data with tighter budgets will be more important than ever. Businesses will need to take an intelligent and data-centric approach to storage to make sure the right data is in the right place at the right time. This will mean storage optimization and tiering where high capacity, low-cost tape plays a critical role — especially in active archive environments.

A Best Practice in Fighting Ransomware
One of many negative side effects of COVID-19 has been the increasing activity of ransomware attacks, not only in the healthcare industry which is most vulnerable at this time, but across many industries, everywhere.  Backup and DR vendors are no doubt adding sophisticated new anti-ransomware features to their software that can help mitigate the impact and expedite recovery. But as a last line of defense, removable tape media will increasingly provide air-gap protection in 2021, just in case the bad actors are one step ahead of the good guys.

Compatibility with Object Storage
Object storage is rapidly growing thanks to its S3 compatibility, scalability, relatively low cost and ease of search and access. But even object storage content eventually goes cold, so why keep that content on more expensive, energy-intensive HDD systems? This is where tape will play an increasing role in 2021, freeing up capacity on object storage systems by moving that content to a less expensive tape tier all while maintaining the native object format on tape.

A Low-Energy Tool for Countering Climate Change
Prior to COVID-19, climate change was a big issue. But like many issues, it was placed on the back burner during the pandemic.  In the wake of recent natural disasters including record storm activity and wildfires, look for climate change to regain focus in 2021. Enterprises worldwide have initiatives in place to address global warming and IT operations are not excluded. Data centers consume a significant amount of energy and have been noted to contribute as much CO2 as the airline industry. Storage is a major consumer of energy within data center operations, and this where tape systems have a big advantage over HDD. Data tapes don’t consume energy unless actively being used in a tape drive, unlike 24/7 spinning disks. According to a recent whitepaper from Brad Johns Consulting, tape consumes 87% less energy than disk and produces 87% less CO2 than the equivalent amount of disk storage. Look for tape to take on more of the load for infrequently accessed data with the benefit of cutting energy consumption and cost.

Affordable Storage for Video Surveillance
The video surveillance market is exploding. While the prices for cameras come down, and resolutions soar into 4k and 8k, the cost of content retention will be almost cost-prohibitive without a new breakthrough solution. LTO can save video surveillance operators 50% on their cost of content retention compared to expensive disk-only systems. But while LTO has become a de facto standard in the M&E industry, its ease-of-use was a historical hurdle for surveillance operators. Management software companies like Cozaint have come to the rescue, seamlessly integrating a tape tier, behind disk, to allow the luxury of longer retention periods previously not feasible due to cost constraints. Look for LTO tape to play another starring video role (beyond Hollywood) in 2021!

Rich Gadomski

Head of Tape Evangelism

As Head of Tape Evangelism for FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., Rich is responsible for driving industry awareness and end user understanding of the purpose and value proposition of modern tape technology. Rich joined Fujifilm in 2003 as Director of Product Management, Computer Products Division, where he oversaw marketing of optical, magnetic, and flash storage products. Previously Rich held the position of Vice President of Marketing, Commercial Products, where he was responsible for the marketing of data storage products, value added services and solutions. Rich has more than 30 years of experience in the data storage industry. Before joining Fujifilm, Rich was Director of Marketing for Maxell Corp. of America where he was responsible for the marketing of data storage products. Prior to that, Rich worked for the Recording Media Products Division of Sony Electronics. Rich participates in several industry trade associations including the Active Archive Alliance, the Linear Tape-Open Consortium (LTO) and the Tape Storage Council. Rich also manages Fujifilm’s annual Global IT Executive Summit. Rich holds a BA from the University of Richmond and an MBA from Fordham University. FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., is the leading manufacturer of commercial data tape products for enterprise and midrange backup and archival applications and provides long term data storage products and software through its FUJIFILM Data Management Solutions team.