FUJIFILM INSIGHTS BLOG

Data Storage

Ransomware Protection via Tape Air Gap is Surprisingly Affordable

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Ransomware continues to be a big concern for IT professionals and corporate stakeholders as this lucrative criminal activity promises to be with us for the long term. Research from Kroll found that the financial toll suffered courtesy of a significant cyberattack amounts to at least $5 million per attack. In about one-third of cases, it cost organizations between $10 million and $25 million. 16% said it amounted to more than $25 million. This total includes loss of market valuation. When a company is attacked, there is widespread PR fallout to contend with. Customers, partners, and investors hear about it and become wary. Stock prices fall, attrition rates increase, and new business is difficult to obtain. It takes time to ride the wave of negative publicity.

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New Report by John Monroe of Furthur Market Research a Wake-up Call for the Storage Industry

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John Monroe, a long-time storage industry expert and Gartner analyst turned independent consultant, recently published a new report entitled “The Escalating Challenge of Preserving Enterprise Data”. The report, co-sponsored by Fujifilm and Twist Bioscience, looks at the supply and demand for SSD, HDD and tape technologies from 2022 to 2030. The findings and conclusions in John’s report are surprising to say the least and should serve as a wake-up call for executives in both the end user and vendor communities. Below are some summaries and excerpts taken from the report and a link is provided to view/download the full report.

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Long-Awaited Annual IT Executive Summit Returns to San Diego!

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After a two year hiatus due to COVID, Fujifilm’s 12th Annual Global IT Executive Summit took place last week in beautiful, warm and sunny San Diego. This year’s Summit theme was “Optimizing storage in the post-Covid, zettabyte age” where organizations have to do more with fewer resources while the value, volumes and retention periods of data continue to increase unabated. It was so good to once again interact face-to-face with members of the storage industry family including around a hundred or so customers, vendors, industry analysts, and storage industry experts during the 3 day event.

About The Summit
For those not familiar with the Summit, it is an educational conference featuring presentations from industry experts, analysts, vendors and end users about the latest trends, best practices and future developments in data management and storage. A concluding speaker panel with Q & A and peer-to-peer networking opportunities throughout the agenda truly make the Summit a unique storage industry event.

Key End User and Vendor Presentations
Similar to past Summits (we last convened in San Francisco in October of 2019) we enjoyed presentations from key end users including AWS, CERN, Meta/Facebook and Microsoft Azure. These end users are on the leading edge of innovation and in many ways are pioneering a path forward in the effective management of vast volumes of data growing exponentially every year.

From the vendor community, we were treated to the latest updates and soon to be unveiled products and solutions from Cloudian, IBM, Quantum, Spectra Logic, Twist Bioscience (DNA data storage) and Western Digital (HDD). The tape vendors shined a light on the continuing innovations in tape solutions including improvements in ease-of-use and maintenance of automated tape libraries as reviewed by Quantum. New tape applications abound from object storage on tape in support of hybrid cloud strategies as explained by Cloudian and Spectra, to the advantages of sustainable tape storage presented by IBM. It’s not a question of if, but when organizations will need to seriously address carbon emissions related to storage devices. After all: “no planet, no need for storage” quipped one attendee. Also included in the tape application discussions were the massive cold data archiving operations as presented by CERN and the hyper scale cloud service providers.

Finally from the world of tape, was a chilling, harrowing tale of a real life ransomware attack experienced by Spectra Logic and how their own tape products contributed to the safe protection of their data with the simple principal of a tape air gap.

Need for Archival Storage
We also heard about the latest updates in the progress of DNA data storage from Twist Bioscience and where the world of HDD is going from Western Digital. We are now firmly in the zettabyte age with an expected 11 zettabytes of persistent data to be stored by 2025. Just one zettabyte would require 55 million 18TB HDDs or 55 million LTO-9 tapes. As an industry we are going to need a lot of archival storage! That includes future technologies like DNA, advanced HDDs, optical discs, and of course, highly advanced modern tape solutions. Tape will continue to deliver the lowest TCO, lowest energy consumption and excellent cybersecurity. All the while tape is supported by a roadmap with increasing cartridge capacities to meet market demand as it unfolds. Certainly, the cloud service providers will leverage all of these storage media at some point as they fine tune their SLAs and prices for serving hot data to cold archival data.

Fred Moore, Horison Information Strategies

Analysts Share Future Vision
From the analyst community, we were treated to a visionary storage industry outlook from Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies who shared the fact that 80% of all data quickly becomes archival and is best maintained in the lower tiers of his famed storage pyramid as an active archive or cold archive. Following Fred was important data from Brad Johns Consulting that showed the 18X sustainability advantage of eco-friendly tape systems compared to energy intensive HDDs. While we need both technologies, and they are indeed complementary, a tremendous opportunity exists for the storage industry to reduce carbon emissions by simply moving cold, inactive data from HDD to tape systems.

Rounding out the analyst presentations was Philippe Nicolas of Coldago Research with some valuable insights into end user storage requirements and preferences in both the U.S. and Europe.

Innovation from an Industry Expert
From the realm of storage industry experts, we had a compelling talk from Jay Bartlett of Cozaint. With his expertise in the video surveillance market, Jay shared how the boom in video surveillance applications is becoming unsustainable from a retention of content perspective. It will become increasingly cost prohibitive to retain high definition video surveillance footage on defacto-standard HDD storage solutions. Jay revealed a breakthrough allowing for the seamless integration of tier 2 LTO tape with a cost savings benefit of 50%! No longer will we need to rely on grainy, compromised video evidence.

Final Thoughts
The Summit wrapped up with a speaker panel moderated by IT writer and analyst, Philippe Nicolas. One big take away from this session was that while innovation is happening, it will need to continue in the future if we are to effectively store the zettabytes to come. Innovation means investment in R&D and production of new solutions, perhaps even hybrid models of existing technologies. That investment can’t come from the vendors alone and the hyper scalers will need to have some skin in the game.

In conclusion, the Summit was long overdue. The storage eco-system is a family from end users to vendors, to analysts and experts. As a family we learn from each other and help each other. That’s what families do. Fujifilm was pleased to bring the family together from around the globe under one roof, for frank and open discussion that will help solve the challenges we and our society are facing.

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Observing Earth Day 2022 In Light of Record LTO Data Tape Capacity Shipments

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The LTO Technology Provider Companies (IBM, HPE, and Quantum) issued a press release earlier this week announcing record capacity shipments for LTO in 2021 of 148 Exabytes (148,000 Petabytes) compressed (up from 105 EB compressed in 2020, +40%). More and more of the world’s data is being stored on LTO data tape. That’s good news for the IT industry! Is it not? After all, end users and service providers need:

  • A strategic way to store and protect massive amounts of increasingly valuable data, especially data that’s gone cool or cold
  • A cost-effective and reliable long term storage solution
  • An air gap defense against cybercrime
  • An eco-friendly form of storage!

 

Industry Pundits React
Some industry pundits, biased toward the HDD industry, took the opportunity to downplay the news. They said the data is inaccurate or insignificant compared to the capacity shipments for HDD last year. Really? Does tape technology threaten the market for HDD? Is it still about tape vs. disk in their minds? Have trains, trucks, and ships put air freight out of business? Or does a more strategic thought process say: “These technologies complement each other. We need both to meet the needs of end-users, storage service providers, and society itself…”

Analysts Predict Huge Zettabyte Demand
Indeed, if the big industry analysts firms are right, we will need to be storing more than 11.0 zettabytes of data in 2025. Just one zettabyte would require 55 million 18.0 TB HDDs or 55 million LTO-9 tape cartridges. Should we store all of that data on HDD, whether it is hot, warm, cool, or cold? Of course, we can’t just delete excess data. Now that we can analyze the data and derive a competitive advantage from it, the value of data has increased and we need to store more and more data for longer periods of time. As a result, the projections for the amount of persistent data to be stored are growing exponentially. We will need huge amounts of flash, HDD, tape, and even future storage solutions like DNA to address the data storage challenge.

A Strategic Approach to Data Storage
The key to success will be a strategic approach that leverages intelligent data management software to automate data movement to the right tiers of storage at the right time, the right cost, and the right energy profile. Employing a strategic approach to data storage in an effort to reduce costs and energy consumption all while maintaining service level agreements seems to make sense. Take a good look at an active archive solution, for example. Yet again, there are those industry pundits who say, the amount of energy saved by moving static, inactive, and infrequently accessed data to a tape tier is not significant in the big picture of the IT industry. The real problem they say is the amount of energy consumed by a single Google search. But isn’t that like saying; “Don’t bother turning the lights out before leaving the office for the night. It’s just a drop in the ocean of energy consumption,” or “Why bother turning off the engine of your car when filling up on gas? It’s just a few minutes of idle time and won’t really impact CO2 emissions at all.” Right?

Change of Attitude Needed
But this is the wrong attitude and exactly what has to change to make a difference. Collectively, if we all switch off a light and all turn the car’s engine off, we will make a difference. We might even get motivated for more change! How about installing LED light bulbs or investing in an electric vehicle? Or maybe make the commitment and take the leadership on a renewable energy installation. Attitudes have to change, believing we can make a difference collectively. If data is inactive, why keep it on energy-intensive, constantly spinning disk? Are we all doing whatever it takes to make a difference?

New Flagship UN Report Is a Wake-up Call
If we believe the latest studies on climate change coming out of the United Nations, we need to start quickly taking any action we can. A new UN report on climate change from earlier this month indicated that harmful carbon emissions in the last decade have never been higher in earth’s history. It’s proof that the world is on a “fast track” to climate disaster. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that it’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C. Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles, and patterns of consumption and production. Guterres adds, “This is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies. We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5-degrees C limit” that was agreed in Paris in 2015. To limit global warming to around 1.5 C (2.7 F), the IPCC report insists that global greenhouse gas emissions will have to peak “before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030.”

Reducing Energy Consumption and CO2 Emissions with Tape
To help increase awareness and understanding of energy consumption in data storage, a number of whitepapers have been published highlighting alternative options for storage including LTO data tape. A recent IDC whitepaper studied migrating cold data from HDDs to LTO tape. The opportunity to positively impact the environment by shifting to tape is staggering. This strategic approach can reduce storage-related CO2 emissions by, coincidently, 43.7% by 2030. This would avoid 664 M metric tons of CO2 cumulatively. That’s the equivalent amount of CO2 produced by 144 million passenger cars driven in the course of a year!

Other research shows that tape consumes 87% less energy than equivalent amounts of HDD storage. When CO2 emissions are analyzed over the entire product lifecycle (from raw materials to production to distribution, usage, and disposal) of HDD and tape, studies show a 95% reduction in CO2 in favor of tape compared to HDD. The same study shows Total Cost of Ownership for long-term data storage can be reduced by more than 70% by using tape instead of HDD. At the same time, tape can provide an effective defense against cybercrime via a physical air gap. All of this is possible by taking a strategic storage approach, where cool or cold data that has aged and is infrequently accessed gets moved from expensive primary storage to economical and environmentally friendly tape systems, online or offline.

Data Center World Attendees Get It
In my last blog on my visit and presentation at Data Center World in Austin last month, I mentioned that I was encouraged by the DCW attendees that I met and listened to in my session and other sessions. They are genuinely concerned about the environment and worried about what kind of planet we will be leaving behind for our kids and grandchildren. They recognize the opportunity to improve sustainability in data center operations and are committed to it. But since then it has occurred to me that maybe sustainability is more of a focus for facility teams. Perhaps the top-down pressure from the C-suite has yet to be widely applied to the data storage management teams. However, in the quest to achieve the needed sustainability goals, no stone can remain unturned.

Observing Earth Day for Future Generations
With Earth Day being observed today, let’s commit to strategically taking action in response to global warming and climate change. Let’s start changing attitudes from “It won’t make a difference” to “Collectively, we can make a difference.” Let’s look at the bright side of increasing LTO capacity shipments instead of the dark, self-serving side. Let’s think about the planet that’s home for us and the future generations of our families to come.

 

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Tape Storage vs. Disk Storage: Getting the Facts Straight about Total Cost of Ownership Calculations

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Modern tape storage has long been recognized for its low cost. Several analyst white papers have been published that demonstrate the low cost of storing data on tape. For example, “Quantifying the Economic Benefits of LTO-8 Technology” is a white paper that can be found on the LTO.org website. However, occasionally a storage solution provider publishes a white paper that claims to show that their solution is less expensive than tape storage for a particular use case. A good example is a recent white paper published by a disk-based backup-as-a-service provider who will remain unidentified out of respect for what they do. For the purpose of this blog, let’s call them “BaaS.” So let’s dig into their analysis which makes several assumptions that result in higher costs for tape storage than most users would experience.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Process

The first step in developing a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) estimate is the determination of the amount of data to be stored. The BaaS whitepaper separates the amount of primary data, which we wish to protect, from backup data, which is the data physically stored on the backup media. They estimate the amount of backup data residing in the tape library to be two to four times the primary data. This is due to their use of the old daily/ weekly/monthly/ full backup methodology for estimating the amount of backup data. The result is that two to four times the amount of primary data ends up being stored on tape, raising the tape hardware and media costs by two to four times.

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Tape Has Become a Strategic Imperative in the Mass Storage Landscape

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Modern data tape continues to be fueled by significant technological and architectural innovations that reinforce its ability to deliver low-cost storage with high capacity and faster data transfer rates. The Tape Storage Council released its 2020 State of the Industry Report featuring new insights into the capabilities and benefits of tape storage in addressing the ever-increasing growth of data.

Highlights from the report include the following:

Tape Addresses Storage-Intensive Applications and Workflows
Tape is addressing the storage and data security requirements for Big Data, cloud storage services, entertainment, hyperscale computing, IoT, and surveillance that are all projected to drive enormous high-value storage demand.

Growing Role in Hyperscale, Hyperscale Lite and Cloud Environments
As data continues to grow, hyperscale and cloud suppliers are integrating tape storage devices into cloud infrastructure to achieve cost containment and address enormous energy concerns.

Object Storage and Tape Combine to Address Archival Demand
Simple, long-term, data storage management with low-cost, long-lived tape automation allows for objects and metadata to be efficiently read and written on tape in its native form. Cloud providers are using object storage solutions for their archive services storing large amounts of archival data, cost-efficiently on tape.

Access the full report here: Tape Has Become a Strategic Imperative in the Mass Storage Landscape.

 

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Modern Tape Storage Provides Key to Reducing Data Center Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions

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Organizations across all industries are concerned about global warming and are actively looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions.  As a result, many companies have decided they must incorporate carbon reductions into their strategies and have announced green initiatives.

Fortunately for IT organizations, there is a significant opportunity to achieve meaningful carbon emissions reductions while lowering operational and capital expenses by changing the way they store their data. Researchers estimate that data centers consume 1.8% of all electricity in the United States. Within the data centers, data storage is a significant portion of total energy usage and disk systems are the primary driver of storage energy consumption.

It is estimated that up to 60% of stored information is seldom accessed, meaning that the expectation of access diminishes after 30 days. By identifying this “cold data” and moving it to modern tape storage, organizations can dramatically reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions while also lowering data center capital and operational expenses.

To learn more on this topic, check out this white paper from Brad Johns Consulting, “Reducing Data Center Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions with Modern Tape Storage.

 

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Ransomware Not Going Away, Air-Gapped Tape Helps Solve the Problem

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By Rich Gadomski, Fujifilm, and Paul Lupino and Tom Trela, Iron Mountain


It was not long ago that ransomware threats caught the attention of the nation when WannaCry burst onto the scene and was widely covered in the press in May of 2017. Fast forward to the COVID era of today, as morning TV shows are featuring news that healthcare providers and hospitals are under increasing ransomware attacks due to their vulnerability at a time when these providers are otherwise overwhelmed, fighting a stubborn pandemic that does not want to go quietly into the night.

The threat against the healthcare sector prompted an alert on October 28th from CISA (Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency) entitled “Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector.” The introduction reads: “This joint cybersecurity advisory was coauthored by CISA, the FBI and the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)…and describes the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by cybercriminals against targets in the Healthcare and Public Health Sector to infect systems with ransomware, notably Ryuk and Conti, for financial gain. CISA, FBI and HHS have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.”

That’s chilling. Most organizations can’t effectively operate without their computer systems or data. Hospitals are no different with the safety and well-being of patients hanging in the balance.

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Tape Performance Accelerates

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November 2, 2020

The tape industry is making significant performance strides by delivering much faster initial access times and throughput levels with the arrival of the Active Archive, RAO, TAOS, LTFS, much faster data rates, and RAIT capabilities. For all the amazing technological progress made for the traditional data centers, hyperscale, and cloud computing, the fundamental challenges of reliably transferring large files and bulk data volumes at high speeds to different geographic locations continue to be problematic.

Moving large amounts of streaming data, archives, images, video/audio streams, teleconferencing, telemedicine, scientific data capture, and large-scale disaster recovery scenarios is performed much faster on high-speed modern tape than other digital technologies. Cloud egress and ingress is slow using network bandwidth and can become cost-prohibitive, taking days or even weeks compared to moving the same amount of data on removable tape media via truck or airplane. Since tape media is readily portable, using tape for cloud storage can be highly advantageous if a CSP (Cloud Service Provider) shuts down or should you want to quickly move your entire digital archive media to another provider.

These trends and scenarios present a growing mass transit problem for bulk data movement – if it weren’t for the tape industry’s renewed focus on performance and throughput. This report will examine several new performance capabilities for improving tape access and data transfer times.

For more information, check out this Horison Information Strategies White Paper “Tape Performance Accelerates: Access Time and Throughput Takeoff.”

 

 

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