FUJIFILM INSIGHTS BLOG

Data Storage

Why is Microsoft Azure Choosing Tape?

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Listen to Marvin McNett, Principal Developer Manager from Microsoft as he explains the reasons tape is being used today in the Microsoft data center for its archival storage tier. View the video here:

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RAIT Is Gaining Momentum 

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According to the Information Storage Industry Consortium, the total data rate for tape is improving by 22.5% MB/sec per year. One concept that is driving this capacity increase in the tape industry is RAIT (Redundant Arrays of Independent Tape). RAIT is ideal for large files that need massive amounts of throughput such as in a disaster recovery scenario where you need the ability to move your whole data center electronically to another location.

In this video, Fred Moore of Horison Information Strategies explains how RAIT works.

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It’s Just a Matter of Time, as Storage Demands Rise

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Rich Gadomski
Vice President of Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc

I recently returned from a speaking opportunity at the PRISM Conference held in Miami on May 8thand 9th where I spoke on the Role of Tape in Today’s Modern Offsite Storage Center. In addition to holding and protecting valuable data tape cartridges for archive, backup, and disaster recovery applications, offsite vaults also play a crucial role in providing an “air gap” against cyber criminals and their alarming malware and ransomware variants. Because of tape’s powerful value proposition, it provides this functionality particularly well. It’s easily portable, has the lowest total cost of ownership, is the most reliable storage medium today, and has long archival life and high capacity.

The audience, which included many regional data vault service providers from the U.S. and abroad, didn’t have to take my word on the value prop of tape. I backed it up with studies from leading IT research companies and articles from reliable publications such as the Wall Street Journal. I sprinkled in some news about tape usage from folks like Microsoft Azure. Finally, I detailed the bright future tape has based on its ability to continue to increase in areal density which will ensure increasing capacity and cost competitiveness without sacrificing performance, thanks in part to Fujifilm’s Barium Ferrite and Strontium Ferrite magnetic particle technology.

At the end of my presentation, during the Q&A, I got the following response and question: “Tape sounds great, how come we don’t see more tape volume flowing into our vaults?” One reason for this would be the increasing data densities of tape which would reduce unit volumes. Understandably this is not great for the vault service providers, but this is actually a great benefit for end users; they can store more data on fewer units. Another factor to consider is the ever-increasing popularity of cloud storage over say, the past five years. We have seen a move from on-premises, do-it-yourself storage to outsourced cloud services. This is especially true among startups and SMBs and specific verticals where the cloud can provide unique functionality such as compute and file sharing.

But as the world turns ever so slowly, so do market conditions. Now that data storage pros have gotten comfortable with what the cloud can do, they are also starting to understand some of the downsides such as high TCO associated with egress fees and bandwidth. Security concerns might be mounting too in light of escalating cybersecurity breaches.

So at some point, tape will make sense again for many of the folks who tried cloud, considering TCO, budget constraints and the need for air gap. It’s just a matter of time, as long as demand for storage keeps rising based on relentless data growth.  And so long as the hackers don’t quit on the highly profitable multi-trillion dollar business of cybercrime.

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Whitehead Cracks the Code on Cost-Effective Storage

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Whitehead Cracks the Code on Cost-Effective Storage

Whitehead Institute is a world-renowned non-profit research institution dedicated to improving human health through basic biomedical research. By cultivating a deeply collaborative culture and enabling the pursuit of bold, creative inquiry, Whitehead fosters paradigm-shifting scientific achievement. For more than 30 years, Whitehead faculty have delivered breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of biology and accelerated development of therapies for such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and certain cancers.

The Challenge

The Whitehead Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass., takes on some of the most complex and important medical and scientific challenges ever presented to mankind. In the 33 years since its founding, it has become one of the world’s leading molecular biology and genetics research institutes, employing multiple National Medal of Science winners. In fact, the Whitehead Institute was a key contributor to the 13-year Human Genome Project, a groundbreaking study that unlocked an entirely new understanding of how humans react to viruses, bacteria and drug therapy.

Research at the Whitehead Institute generates an enormous amount of data. Genomic sequences and microscopy images alone can add up to multiple terabytes a week. Information is further extracted from the raw data using a computing cluster that leads to the creation of processed data files. This all translates into a unique set of challenges for the Institute’s IT team. Like the scientists they support, the IT team has had to address their challenges with innovative and experimental approaches.

“The scientists do everything from basic cellular process research to cancer and other diseases research,” said Paul McCabe, Senior Unix Systems Administrator and Data Center Specialist. “It varies widely, but the common denominator is that our research generates a huge amount of very valuable data.”

Due to the historical implications of their research, scientists at the Whitehead Institute constantly have to look back at previously collected data to forge ahead with their work.

“We tend to process data pretty heavily, and we have long-term data retention requirements,” said McCabe. “We not only store the data while it’s being actively processed by our researchers, but we also need to archive that data long after research papers are published in case the data behind the papers are ever challenged.”

As the Institute’s operations have become more dynamic and strenuous in nature, the legacy systems in place have had trouble keeping up with the increased workload and demand.

“Our organization had become a 24-hour endeavor, which was a challenge that was becoming more and more difficult to manage,” explained McCabe. “We were backing up for eight hours a day, duplicating for eight hours a day, and archiving the remaining eight hours. The equipment was being pushed to its limits, and if anything went wrong… we were simply out of hours.”

The Solution

As a result, McCabe and the IT team began researching high capacity data archiving alternatives that could meet their scalability, reliability and simplicity needs. At an IT tradeshow, the team was introduced to the Fujifilm Dternity, a data archiving system that combines the simplicity of disk and the economics of tape into a highly scalable, easy-to-manage solution.

“We also liked the way Fujifilm structures its licensing model in large bands, rather than the ‘by the terabyte’ model offered by other vendors. Overall, it matched very well with our requirements.”

Currently, the Whitehead Institute IT team is storing 171 TB of unique data on the Dternity NAS, with room to grow to more than 400 TB.

The Benefits

To date, the IT team has seen an overall decrease in administrative time associated with backing up and archiving research data due to the system’s ease of use and scalability. There has been some cost savings already, but as the amount of data in the Dternity grows, the cost savings grows with it. It is significantly cheaper to keep archive data on tape as opposed to disk. “Capacity and scalability were obviously very important to us, but Dternity provided so much more,” said McCabe. “Our backup team is thrilled with how easy the system is to manage and how it frees them up to focus on other tasks, but I would say the most noticeable benefit is the overall peace-of-mind the Dternity provides us. We’re dealing with critical data, and I never have to worry because it is fully protected, backed up and available when needed.”

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The Active Archive Is Integral to Your Data Storage Game Plan 

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Organizations are quickly learning the value of analyzing vast amounts of previously untapped archival data. Industry studies suggest that only about 20% of all digital data is ever accessed or used again after it is stored, underscoring the archival challenge. The need to effectively store, search for and retrieve enormous volumes of archival content is fueling new advancements in archive solutions.

This Active Archive Alliance report describes the state of the archive market and the role that the active archive plays. View the full report here.

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Tape Air Gap Provides Defense Against Cybercrime

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According to Juniper Research, cybercrime is expected to become a $2.1 trillion problem by 2019. Using tape-based, offline storage creates an “air gap” that can prevent hackers from accessing your data. In this video, Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies, explains the benefits of tape storage for data security. 

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Tape Storage Council Releases Annual Report on State of Tape Industry

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Tape isn’t just raising the bar, it is the bar. According to a new Tape Storage Council report, in the last 10 years, LTO tape has increased capacity 1,400%, performance 200%, and reliability 9,900%. In addition to tape’s continual capacity improvements, tape is improving access time and data rate (throughput) with active archive, RAIT, and RAO, and offers the storage industry’s fastest data rates.

Tape is serving multiple roles for the enormous hyper scale, Internet and cloud data centers as tape capacity can easily scale without adding more drives. Check out the new 2018 State of the Tape Industry report featuring current trends, use cases and technology innovations for tape storage: http://tapestorage.org

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Save Over $1 Million by Migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7

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Kevin Benitez
Product Marketing Manager
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

We know your data is important, but let’s face it, data growth is rising exponentially, and there is no turning back. No matter the industry, the daily creation of data is mindboggling, whether it’s emails, videos, IoT, blockchain or something new, it doesn’t matter because for every keystroke typed there is a new set of data created, computed, and stored forever. On the bright side, if you are using LTO-5 tape for backup/archive, now is the perfect time to migrate to LTO-7 since it could save your IT department $1,276,280 over the next five years.

There are significant benefits to migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7. If the impressive transfer rate of 300 MB / sec or enormous 6 TB capacity of LTO-7 hasn’t won you over, surely the cost savings will. IT budgets are only growing at an average of 7% annually. Meanwhile, the average data growth is between 35% and 65%, compounding yearly! In order for IT departments to meet future budget requirements, they need to unlock the economic value of LTO-7.

A recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by Brad Johns Consulting discovered that migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7 consistently generated greater TCO savings across all storage capacities if the customer’s data was growing at all.

Brad Johns’ study investigated TCO over a five-year period for LTO-5 and LTO-7 for three different capacities 500TB, 2500TB, 5000TB and annual growth rates ranging from 10% to 50%. IT departments with the annual growth rate of 40% can expect savings from $135,308 to $1,276,280 over the next five years by switching to LTO-7.

Savings Chart

Methodology

  • Only new media and drives were purchased.
  • The LTO-5 configurations were configured with a minimum of two tape drives and 100 tape cartridges per drive.
  • The number of LTO-7 drives in the new configuration provided at least the same aggregate data rate as the LTO-5 base configuration (also with a two-drive minimum).

Overall the math shows migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7 can significantly reduce cost, especially if a business has the ability to install LTO-7 drives in existing libraries rather than requiring a new library.

Not only do LTO-5 customers have a significant financial incentive to migrate to LTO-7, but they have additional technical benefits. The LTO-7 tape drives can read LTO-5 media as well as reading and writing on LTO-6 media. If LTO technology, in general is a concern, you can be confident that LTO is here to stay, and future proofing is already in development with Generation 12 and beyond. Bottom line, LTO-7 definitely has a place in your archive for long-term preservation management, especially if you are currently using LTO-5.

Have questions or need help making the decision?

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Tape is Undeniably The Most Reliable Storage Solution Available – Period!

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By Ken Kajikawa,
OEM Technical Support Manager
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

Did you know 96,000 petabytes (PB) of total compressed tape capacity shipped in 2016? To put that into perspective, that’s over 326,000 years of 24/7 Full HD video! But why do so many companies depend on tape if primary backup can be faster to disk or cheaper in the short-term to the cloud?

For starters, mid-size and enterprise companies produce reams of digital data that they must retain for long periods of time and tape provides more reliability than disk—at a significantly lower total cost of ownership. For most companies, data is their most prized possession, and LTO tape provides reliable, offline protection against on-line data corruption. For mid-sized to enterprise companies, by diversifying their storage practice, they can depend on their data from tape always being there when they need it.

Don’t listen to the hype from fancy providers; LTO tape is actually the most reliable solution available, with bit error rates that best those of disk. The bit error rate (BER) predicts the percentage of faulty bits per total number of written bits. Tape’s reliability is an impressive 100 times more reliable than Flash SSD, 1,000 times more reliable than Fibre Channel & SAS HDD, and an outstanding 10,000 more reliable than enterprise SATA disks (Source: Supplier Data, Horison, Inc.).

Our friends at LTO.org helped put this into perspective: for LTO-7 tape, that would be 1 error event in every 200,000 LTO-7 cartridges (1.25 exabytes) compared to 1 error event in every 20 enterprises 6 TB SATA disks (125 TB). Clearly, LTO Ultrium tape is designed to deliver outstanding reliability.

Additionally, an ESG audit found that the new Error Detection/Correction Code in LTO-7 Ultrium tape technology was so advanced that customers would be more likely to be struck by lightning or killed by a shark than hit an uncorrectable error when saving data to tape. Below are some fun probabilities:

  • Getting hit by lightning; the odds are one in a million.
  • Getting killed by a shark; the odds are one in 11.5 million.
  • Winning a multi-million dollar lottery; the odds are 1 in 259 million.
  • Getting an uncorrectable error using LTO-7 media; the odds are one in 10 quintillion

Not only is LTO tape reliable, but it is also durable enough to withstand the test of time. LTO Tape provides users with a shelf-life of over 30 years—unlike disk that has a shelf-life of 3-5 years. Additionally, advancements in technologies like Barium Ferrite ensure longer archival life with no loss of magnetic signal.

We all know data volumes are growing explosively while IT budgets are remaining stagnant; the most effective solution to this problem is a low-cost, highly reliable and high capacity tape storage system. There is no doubt some of your backup/achieved data will need to reside on disk, but with astounding reliability and its cost advantaged most of your backup/archive data should reside on tape.

 

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