FUJIFILM INSIGHTS BLOG

Data Storage

Fujifilm’s Tape Evangelist on The Future of Tape Storage

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December 18, 2020

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.

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

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December 10, 2020

By Rich Gadomski, Head of Tape Evangelism at FUJIFILM Recording Media, U.S.A., Inc.

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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December 3, 2020

By Rich Gadomski

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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November 4, 2020

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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Tiered Storage: Building the Optimal Storage Infrastructure

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October 21, 2020

Fortunately, as data continues to grow exponentially, the selection of data storage technologies has never been more robust. The choice of what storage device to use for which application at a given point in time is a balancing act making trade-offs between frequency of access (performance), cost, and capacity. Storage tiering has become a key strategy that lets you optimize the use of storage resources, save costs and make the best use of storage technology for each data classification. The foundations of tiered storage had their beginnings over 30 years ago when disk, automated tape libraries and advanced policy-based data management software such as (HSM) combined to effectively migrate less-active data to less expensive storage devices.

Tiered storage integrates hardware and storage management software to provide a seamless operation and for customers to realize the huge TCO and ROI economic benefits available from optimized storage implementations. The business case for implementing tiered storage is compelling and becomes increasingly so as storage pools get larger. Today’s storage tiers offer several technologies ranging from ultra-high capacity, low cost storage at one end of the hierarchy to very high levels of performance and functionality and at the other. The non-stop, increasing growth of data will require the continual evolution of new, more advanced approaches to tiered storage and management capabilities.

For more information, check out this Horison Information Strategies White Paper “Tiered Storage: Building the Optimal Storage Infrastructure.”

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Managing the Archival Upheaval

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October 7, 2020

Relentless digital data growth is inevitable as data has become critical to all aspects of human life over the course of the past 30 years and it promises to play a much greater role over the next 30 years. Much of this data will be stored forever mandating the emergence of a more intelligent and highly secure long-term storage infrastructure. Data retention requirements vary widely based on the type of data, but archival data is rapidly piling up everywhere. Digital archiving is now a key strategy for larger enterprises and has become a required discipline for hyperscale data centers.

Many data types are being stored indefinitely anticipating that its potential value will eventually be unlocked. Industry surveys indicate nearly 60% of businesses plan to retain data in some digital format 50 years or more and much of this data will never be modified or deleted. For many organizations, facing terabytes, petabytes and potentially exabytes of archive data for the first time can force the redesign of their entire storage strategy and infrastructure. As businesses, governments, societies, and individuals worldwide increase their dependence on data, data preservation and archiving has become a critical IT practice. Fortunately, the required technologies are now available to manage the archival upheaval.

For more information, check out this Horison Information Strategies White Paper “Managing the Archival Upheaval.”

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Tape Storage: New Game, New Rules

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September 23, 2020

Modern tape storage has become the leading strategic and lowest-cost storage solution for massive amounts of archival and unstructured data. This bodes well for future tape growth as archival data is piling up much faster than it is being analyzed. Over the past decade, the magnetic tape industry has successfully re-architected itself delivering compelling technologies and functionality including cartridge capacity increases, vastly improved bit error rates yielding the highest reliability of any storage device, a media life of 30 years or more, and faster data transfer rates than any previous tape or HDD (Hard Disk Drive).

Many of these innovations have resulted from technologies borrowed from the HDD industry and have been used in the development of both LTO (Linear Tape Open) and enterprise tape products. Additional tape functionality including LTFS, RAIT, RAO, TAOS, smart libraries and the Active Archive adds further value to the tape lineup. HDD technology advancement has slowed while progress for tape, SSD (Solid State Disk) and other semiconductor memories is steadily increasing. Fortunately, today’s tape technology is nothing like the tape of the past.

For more information, check out this Horison Information Strategies White Paper “Tape Storage: It’s a New Game With New Rules.”

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Why are Two Thirds of Organizations Failing to Backup and Archive Correctly?

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September 9, 2020

By Rich Gadomski, Tape Evangelist, Fujifilm Recording Media, U.S.A., Inc.

You would think, by now, that backup best practices would have moved into the same category as filling up the tank before a long drive or looking each way before crossing the street. But a new study indicates that most organizations continue to get it fundamentally wrong. How? By continuing to backup long-inactive data that should have been archived instead of remaining in the backup schedule.

The 2020 Active Archive Alliance survey found that 66% of respondents were still using backup systems to store archive data. What’s wrong with that?

  • It greatly lengthens backup windows: Repeatedly backing up unchanging archive data wastes storage resources and adds time to the backup process
  • As data sets grow, a failure to distinguish between backup and archiving becomes increasingly expensive in terms of disk space
  • Even those offloading backups to cheap cloud resources are still running up a large bill over time by unnecessarily backing up cold data
  • Archiving, on the other hand, frees up expensive capacity by moving less frequently used data to more cost-effective storage locations.


Clearing Up Backup Confusions

One of the underlying reasons for this is a confusion between backup and archiving. Backup provides a copy of organizational data for use in recovery from a data loss incident, cyberattack or disaster. These days, it is generally copied onto disk or tape and either retained there or relayed to the cloud. A key point is that backup only copies data, leaving the source data in place. It is also used to restore lost or deleted files rapidly.

Archiving is a different concept entirely. Rather than copying data, it moves data classed as inactive to a more cost-effective tier of storage such as economy disk or tape. This frees up space on higher-tier storage systems such as fast disk or flash. In addition, it shortens the backup window and offers permanent and long-term protection from modification or deletion of data.

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