FUJIFILM INSIGHTS BLOG

Data Storage

Executive Q & A: Tom Nakatani, President of FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this executive Q & A, Tom Nakatani, president of FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. (FRMU) discusses how tape technology plays a vital role in the world of data storage now and in the future.

Q1) Tell us a bit about yourself, your career at Fujifilm and how you ended up as president of FRMU? 

I don’t like to age myself, but I have been in the Recording Media Business for 25 years since I joined Fujifilm in 1997. I worked primarily in international sales and marketing, responsible for key customers and partners. I also spent about six years at the European headquarters in Germany.  Most recently I was assigned as VP of Sales and Marketing in the U.S. in September of 2020 before being appointed president of FRMU as of July 1st of this year. As president, I am responsible for the sales and profitability of this division including our Bedford manufacturing facility. I’m pleased to say Bedford is a world class operation with many cutting edge technologies and sustainability initiatives in place. It’s also the world’s largest LTO manufacturing facility, producing the greenest form of storage. But our biggest asset is our team of employees across the organization, from coast to coast, dedicated to exceptional customer satisfaction.

Q2) What are some of the biggest challenges facing the data storage industry today?

I think the biggest challenge starts with the ongoing and escalating digital transformation that is generating more data than we ever could have imagined even ten years ago. We are now firmly in the zettabyte age where we have a tendency to keep everything indefinitely and we’re afraid to delete anything. And rightfully so, as the value of data has increased and in many ways it is the new currency in this digital economy.

But the question is, how can we continue to manage ever increasing volumes of data that are growing exponentially? How can the industry afford it from a TCO perspective and from an energy consumption perspective? The IT industry needs to reduce its impact on global warming and climate change. And how do we protect the data from theft or ransomware? The IT industry needs a cost-effective way to prevent unauthorized access by securing data in offline, offsite locations.

These are significant challenges but tape solutions are part of the answer. It simply requires a strategic approach to data management and getting the right data in the right place at the right time. Why keep inactive data on 24/7 spinning disk that costs a lot and consumes a lot of energy? Why not move it to modern automated tape systems to reduce cost and CO2 footprint? This will free up HDD space for new, active data! Why not make a low cost copy of the data on tape and send it offsite for cyber security reasons? These solutions are available and are being practiced by the most technologically advanced and data intensive customers in the world today including the major hyperscalers.

Q3) How is FRMU innovating to address these challenges?

Together with our global Recording Media colleagues around the world we continue to bring innovative new products and solutions to market. Our tape technology provides the world’s leading companies with high-capacity data storage solutions to help them manage the increasing volumes of valuable data that we just discussed. Our recent release of LTO-9 with 18 TB native and up to 45 TB of compressed capacity is a good example. According to recent studies by industry experts, LTO-9 is even more energy efficient than previous generations of LTO and when compared to HDD can reduce CO2e by more than 95%. In addition, our Bedford facility has come up with innovative ways to custom package our tape products according to specific customer requirements for ease of use and sustainability goals. Our engineering teams have developed diagnostic tools to maximize performance of tape systems for some of our largest customers. We are also very excited about the innovation we are bringing to the object storage market.  Our S3 compatible Object Archive software enables access to low cost tape storage with high reliability and security for long term archiving and preservation of valuable but low access data sets.

Q4) What role do you think tape will play in the future?

We believe organizations and enterprises of all kinds will continue to rely on our products for long-term, reliable, secure, eco-friendly and cost-effective data protection and retention. This includes backup for cybersecurity and ransomware protection to active archive for infrequently accessed data to cold archive for so much of the data that is rarely accessed but still has value and can’t be deleted. We have the fundamental building blocks in place to continue increasing areal density and capacity of magnetic linear tape well into the future based on magnetic particle science such as Barium Ferrite, Strontium Ferrite and even Epsilon Ferrite in the more distant future. Our most recent technology demo with IBM showed the potential for 580 TB of native capacity on a single LTO sized cartridge. That’s a lot of data but it’s what will eventually be needed to store and protect data beyond the zettabyte age in an economical and energy efficient manner. I’m sure that advancements will also continue in flash and HDD or new technologies like DNA data storage will come along. But I believe all these technologies will be needed and will complement each other.

For more information, visit: https://datastorage-na.fujifilm.com/lto-tape-data-storage/

Read More

Optimizing Object Storage with Tape Archiving Software: Executive Q&A with Chris Kehoe, Director of Sales & Marketing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In this executive Q&A, Chris Kehoe, Director of Sales & Marketing, discusses his role at FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A. and how the company’s Object Archive software helps solve a major customer pain point as data continues to grow yet resources and budgets do not.

Q: Tell us about your role as Director of Sales and Marketing for Fujifilm’s Data Management Solutions?

As the Director of Sales and Marketing for Fujifilm’s Data Management Solutions, I’m tasked with bringing Fujifilm’s Object Archive software product to the North American market. This includes implementing a sales and marketing strategy for specific target markets.  My team provides full support for demand generation, sales, and post-sales activities such as installation and support.  There are two major focal points in these roles; the first is building and implementing a focused, market-based approach ensuring our product values intersect the market and customers’ needs.  The second is ensuring the best customer experience while working with Fujifilm products, people, and resellers.  This includes on-the-street sales and engineering readiness and customer support capabilities to ensure a fully capable delivery of exceptional customer satisfaction.

“Object Archive delivers low-cost storage and high reliability for long term data archiving and preservation,” – Chris Kehoe

Q: What are the key features and benefits of Object Archive software?

Object Archive software operates like an on-premise cloud archive service through its simple-to-use S3 API and cross-organization and multi-tenant capabilities.  By leveraging today’s highly advanced data tape, automated tape libraries, and state-of-the-art software, Object Archive delivers low-cost storage and high reliability for long-term data archiving and preservation. This solves a major customer pain point as data continues to grow yet resources and budgets do not.

Q: What is your basic go-to-market strategy and what are your key target markets?

Our basic go-to-market strategy is to sell Object Archive into the North American market through Fujifilm’s VAR channel.  One of our primary targets is the computational science and digital preservation departments inside of the non-profit research, research universities, and government labs. These customers have a critical need to properly classify data and to move that data as it ages and cools to the right storage, at the right time and cost. Object Archive supports that strategy very effectively.

Q: What’s your perspective on tape technology and its future?

Tape technology is uniquely suited as the only technology that has the capability to scale in terms of the capacity that is required to specifically meet the long-term retention needs resulting from the significant projected growth of data.  There is no other solution that can achieve similar cost, performance, and retention metrics. Tape has a significant advantage when it comes to TCO, has plenty of performance for the profile of data that it stores and protects, and a long archival life beyond what is probably needed. Add to that best-in-class reliability and the benefit of the lowest energy-consuming data storage solution available. That’s important at a time when sustainability and climate change are becoming a priority for just about everyone.

Q: What is your perspective on cybercrime and the benefits of air gap?

Air gap is a no brainer for tape systems, since the beginning of its development, tape has been designed and used to manage and protect data against online and physical threats and disasters. Moving a copy of your data to offline tape means that this data is no longer connected to the network, it’s removed from the threat matrix of online attacks.  Moving a copy of your data to a secure offsite vault will protect your data from numerous threats and disasters. It has always been a best practice across all organizations to have a fully protected copy of data offline.  This is even more critical today since the threat of cybercrime and ransomware is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it will only continue to increase and we’re glad to help our customers protect themselves.

For more information, visit https://www.datastorage-na.fujifilm.com/object-archive

Read More

Bedford Manufacturing Facility Vital to Data Storage Industry: Q&A with Kim Ryder, VP of Finance & Operations

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this executive Q & A, Kim Ryder, VP of Finance & Operations, discusses her role at FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A. and how Fujifilm’s Bedford Manufacturing facility plays a vital role in the world of data storage now and in the future.

Q: Explain your role as VP of Finance and Operations

First, I’d like to start by wishing our readers a healthy and happy Holiday season!

My primary role is to drive and maintain operational excellence within the Bedford Manufacturing facility to deliver products and solutions that provide exceptional customer satisfaction.  It’s not a trivial task! Many of the world’s largest technology companies depend on us to deliver premium quality, high-density tape cartridges that back up the internet and safely and cost-effectively retain user content for decades.

Q: What are some of the sustainability initiatives you have undertaken at Fujifilm?

The FUJIFILM Groups’ approach to creating a Sustainable Society is to resolve social issues through our business activities and consider society and the environment in our business processes.  In response to the corporation’s vision, in November 2013, we installed a 1,870 solar panel array on the roof of our Bedford Manufacturing Facility.  Our solar installation has produced 4,858,000 kWh since its inception. That’s the equivalent amount of energy used by 9,700 homes during an entire month. It’s also the equivalent of a reduction of 2,915 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Over 20 years, this would equal the carbon sequestered by 11,870 acres of U.S. forest in one year.

“With over 3,000 bulbs replaced, we estimate a savings of 400,000 kWh this year!” – Kim Ryder

In addition to our solar panels, we converted to LED lighting in our manufacturing facility. By converting to LED bulbs, we will reduce our carbon footprint by approximately one-third, minimize daily maintenance work, decrease our UV emissions to zero, and be more energy-efficient overall. With over 3,000 bulbs replaced, we estimate a savings of 400,000 kWh this year!

Of course, tape is the greenest form of data storage available, consuming 87% less energy than the equivalent amount of hard disk drive storage. When you look at the total lifecycle from raw materials to production to distribution, to usage and disposal, the reduction of CO2 goes up to 95%.

Q: What role does the Bedford Manufacturing facility play in the IT industry?

Actually, Bedford is the world’s largest manufacturing facility of Linear Tape-Open (LTO) high-capacity data cartridges. Our products provide the world’s leading companies with high-capacity data storage solutions to help them manage the digital transformation’s exponential data growth.  As a result, organizations and enterprises of every shape and size rely on our products for reliable, long-term, eco-friendly and cost-effective data protection and retention. With data as the new currency and lifeblood of the digital economy, Fujifilm plays a unique role in serving the dynamic IT industry with innovative data storage solutions.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face?

We face a lot of similar challenges as other manufacturing facilities. The disruption in the domestic and global supply chain has forced us to rethink our overall supply chain strategy. We’ve had to tighten our inventory controls, strengthen our communication with our suppliers, look for and qualify alternative vendors, and heavily rely on our employees for innovative solutions to overcome the day-to-day challenges. However, our agile response to the disruption has allowed us to maintain exceptional customer service to our customers.

Our second most significant challenge is the labor market. We’ve all heard the terms the “great resignation”, or the “great reshuffle”, or the “great renegotiation”. We often wonder, “where have all the employees gone”?  However, with employees being our biggest asset, we’ve had to focus on not only recruiting but retaining our staff. We’ve had to take a hard look at our organization and recognize the need for and put together a succession plan that includes accelerated training and development for immediate changes to some of our business functions. We’ve also made several changes in our work-from-home policies, implemented flexible work schedules, and offered additional benefits.  In our manufacturing area, we’ve increased incentives and created new positions allowing for growth and development. We’ve come up with innovative ways to continue to engage our employees in activities while staying safe.  We are focused on providing a positive recruiting and onboarding experience for our new employees.

Q: What are the key advantages of today’s modern data tape technology?

There are many advantages of today’s modern tape technology. But I think the big ones have to do with cost savings, capacity, sustainability, and cyber security.  Tape has the lowest cost per terabyte of data stored or the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Tape’s high capacity per cartridge and low energy consumption contributes to its low TCO. The low energy consumption profile of tape makes it eco-friendly. Today, energy-intensive storage solutions like hard disk drive technology are giving way to eco-friendly tape solutions that consume less energy and produce less CO2 emissions. This helps the IT industry to reduce its impact on global warming and climate change. Finally, in response to rapidly increasing cybercrime incidents like ransomware, high-capacity tape offers an efficient and cost-effective way to prevent unauthorized access by securing data in offline, offsite locations. This is a practice that is now recommended by the FBI and other Federal agencies like CISA.

Q: What makes Fujifilm Bedford an attractive place to work?

For starters, we have a bright future! As the IT industry has entered the age of massive zettabyte storage, Fujifilm and IBM together have demonstrated future technology enhancements for increasing the capacity of tape systems beyond 500 TB per cartridge, securing a bright future for tape for decades to come in long term data protection and retention.

Secondly, our work environment is like no other – it’s based around respect, trust, and diversity with a comfortable and positive atmosphere. We keep the work challenging and rewarding, with opportunities to learn and grow. Our consensus-driven management style and strong core values set us apart from most other companies. Fujifilm strives to offer a healthy work environment that promotes individual responsibility and growth, a collaborative spirit, and an atmosphere that encourages learning, professional development, and achievement.

Finally, with data as the new currency and lifeblood of the world’s leading companies, Fujifilm is uniquely positioned to serve the dynamic IT industry with innovative solutions for a long time to come.

For more information, visit: https://datastorage-na.fujifilm.com/lto-tape-data-storage/

Read More

From LTO-1 to LTO-8: Tape Manufacturing in Bedford, MA

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this Q&A, we talk to Andy Feather, Sr. Director, Engineering & Technical Services at FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. about the company’s tape manufacturing process and robust sustainability efforts.

How long has Fujifilm been manufacturing LTO tapes in the U.S.?

We first started LTO tape manufacturing here in Bedford in September 2003.  This was the start of LTO-1 and we have made every generation since then up to the current LTO-8.

How has the manufacturing process changed over the years?

At the start of LTO production, as with most start-up manufacturing processes, it was a very manual process, over the years we have added more and more automation.  We’ve also refined our methods for controlling the manufacturing equipment so, for example, on the winding machines, we focus on preventive maintenance and sophisticated process control to monitor the quality during the tape winding process.  This allows us to reduce the dependence on testing cartridges after they have been wound.

In our packaging operations, we have focused on improvements for the environment.  We’ve introduced soy-based inks for all our printed materials and we’ve eliminated most of the paper instruction sheets and user labels.  We’ve switched to recycled paper and corrugated and reduced the thickness of the plastic cases.  In our latest “bulk” packaging design we have eliminated corrugated completely and reduced the use of plastic shrink film to the absolute bare minimum.

“Having our manufacturing facility in the U.S. allows us to respond quickly to any customer request.” – Andy Feather

What are the advantages of having a manufacturing facility located in the U.S.?

Having our manufacturing facility in the U.S. allows us to respond quickly to any customer request. Much of our production volume is customized with barcode labels specific to a customer’s order.  We can receive the order, custom print and apply the barcode labels, and then drop ship to any location in the U.S. within 48 hours.

Was Fujifilm’s manufacturing facility impacted by COVID?

As an essential business, our manufacturing facility has remained open through the pandemic.  Naturally, we took every precaution to ensure our employees remained safe, including providing masks and reorganizing the facility to accommodate for social distancing.  During the peak of the pandemic last year we minimized the number of staff on-site to just the critical manufacturing employees.  To achieve this we implemented working from home for as many of the administrative functions as possible.  We also implemented a strict visitor policy that ensured that only visitors essential to the ongoing functioning of the manufacturing facility was permitted on-site and while on-site all visitors were required to follow the COVID restrictions,

What changed during COVID and have you kept some of the new processes you may have implemented?

As the pandemic thankfully subsided in the fall of last year we were able to relax some of the restrictions and gradually bring more people back into the facility.  We still have people working from home and continue to social distance while in the facility.  With the experience from last year, we are looking at our work from home policy to allow continued flexibility for our employees where possible.

What are some of the green initiatives manufacturing has initiated?  

The solar panel installation project at our Bedford manufacturing facility began in response to a FUJIFILM corporate mission of energy conservation and Greenhouse gas reduction to address issues of climate change. With 1,870 solar modules, our solar installation has produced 2,977,000 kWh since its inception in November of 2013. That is the equivalent amount of energy used by 4,666 homes during an entire month. It is also the equivalent to a reduction of 1,787 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Over 20 years, this would equal the carbon sequestered by 7,280 acres of U.S. forest in one year.

In addition to our solar panels, we have just recently converted to LED lighting in our manufacturing facility. By converting to LED bulbs we will reduce our carbon footprint by approximately one-third, minimize daily maintenance work, decrease our UV emissions to zero and overall be more energy efficient. With over 3,000 bulbs replaced, we estimate a savings of 400,000 kWh this year!

Of course, tape is the greenest form of data storage available consuming 87% less energy than the equivalent hard drive storage.

What are some of the largest accomplishments manufacturing has achieved that you are particularly proud of?

Fujifilm continues to innovate the technology of LTO tape working with our OEM partners to further enhance the performance of LTO tape cartridges.  As each successive generation of LTO is released, tape cartridge capacity and performance increase which naturally imposes tighter and tighter requirements on the tape, the cartridge, and all the components that go into the product.  In manufacturing, we’ve been able to innovate the production processes to stay ahead of the technical challenges of manufacturing a product that operates in the realm of sub-nanometer tolerances. We’ve achieved this through a continual focus on automation and the dedication and expertise of our engineers and technical personnel.

 

Read More

Fujifilm’s Tape Evangelist on The Future of Tape Storage

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this Executive Q&A, Rich Gadomski, Fujifilm’s Head of Tape Evangelism, discusses the evolution of tape storage and how recent innovations and advancements in tape technology are putting it at center stage.


Explain your role as Tape Evangelist for FUJIFILM Recording Media, U.S.A.

I believe tape technology has a compelling value proposition and a great story to tell. I want to be focused on telling that story and that is my primary role. Of course, it takes a team and we all do our part, but this is what I’m passionate about and want to focus on.

How has the tape storage industry changed over the years?

Tape technology has come a long way since its introduction in the 1950s where we had reel-to-reel tape that could hold just a few megabytes of data. Today we have LTO tape in the market at 12 TB native and enterprise tape at 20TB. Just looking at LTO which came out 20 years ago, it was LTO Gen 1 in 2000 with 100GB of capacity. We expect LTO-9 soon at 18TB so a 180x increase. And just recently we announced a joint demonstration with IBM showing that we can reach up to 580 TB on a single cartridge with our next generation of magnetic particle called Strontium Ferrite. But it’s not just about capacity increases, tape has also made advancements in transfer rate, now faster than HDD, reliability rating, now three or four magnitudes better than HDD and it’s the greenest form of storage consuming far less energy than constantly spinning HDD and this contributes to its lowest total cost of ownership. But today it’s not about tape vs. HDD, in fact, the two technologies complement each other to help customers optimize their data storage.

Why is tape storage still relevant today? What is driving demand for this technology?

I would say first and foremost the incredible amount of data that’s being created in this digital economy. Add to the fact that the value of data is increasing so we want to store more of it for longer periods of time. Yet, IT budgets are flat or barely increasing, so you need a high capacity, highly reliable storage media that is cost-effective for long-term storage and that’s what tape gives you. So tape plays a role in cold archiving, active archiving and yes, backup as well. In fact, tape has renewed interest from customers in the fight against cybercrime and ransomware since customers can easily backup to tape and remove those backups from the network to an isolated and secure location that hackers can’t get to. That’s what we refer to as the tape air gap. Last but not least is energy consumption. Society is rightfully concerned about climate change. Tape consumes 87% less energy than disk and that leads to 87% less CO2 emissions.

(more…)

Read More

LET’S DISCUSS YOUR NEEDS

We can help you reduce cost, decrease vendor lock-in, and increase productivity of storage staff while ensuring accessibility and longevity of data.

Contact Us >