FUJIFILM INSIGHTS BLOG

Data Storage

Lonely in Bedford

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Andy Feather
Sr. Director, Engineering & Technical Services
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc

Ever hear of the Maytag repairman commercials? It was a role played by actor Jesse White (thank you Google). Because Maytag machines were so reliable, he never got any work and was the loneliest guy in town. Sometimes I wonder if our technical support engineers here at our factory in Bedford, MA suffer the same fate thanks to the reliability of today’s tape technology.

But I do have a tech support story I want to share. Not long ago, I got a call from Brookhaven National Labs out in Long Island, N.Y. They reported that an LTO-6 tape was mechanically malfunctioning and could not be accessed by their drives. They asked if we could we take a look at it, fix it and send it back because this was an important tape containing client data.

Our tech support engineers received the tape by express mail within a day of the complaint. The first step was to analyze the cartridge memory chip data, and it was determined that there were no error messages. The production history was reviewed, and there were no indications of any issues at the time that the cartridge was manufactured. Upon physical inspection it became apparent that the leader pin and clip were dislodged. The cartridge was x-rayed in order to determine if the leader pin and clip were still inside the cartridge. The x-ray results (see photo below) revealed that the leader pin and clip were still intact, but stuck inside the cartridge.

The leader pin had become dislodged but this was not caused by a manufacturing defect. Two possible causes were either mishandling of the cartridge, or there was an issue with one of Brookhaven’s drives which caused the leader pin to not be returned correctly into the leader pin spring. The cartridge memory data showed that data was successfully written multiple times before the issue occurred. Brookhaven was advised of the drive serial number needing investigation for possible issues.

The tech support engineers then proceeded to remove the barcode label and unscrew the cartridge in order to access the dislodged leader pin. The leader pin was properly repositioned and clamped. The barcode label was reprinted and reapplied. The cartridge was returned to Brookhaven the next day via express service. All of this was much to Brookhaven’s relief, and the client’s data was restored without much delay.

Brookhaven shared with us that they have written more than 100 PB of data on LTO tape. Regarding LTO-6 alone, they have 21,235 tapes in their environment with a total of 1,644,440 mounts. Only one tape had the problem shared above, and it was fixed in a day.

How can our “Maytag team” help you? We are here to support you on any aspect of tape media operation and performance. Beyond media, we can refer you to the right supporting hardware and software vendors or 3rd party service providers. Just let us know!

Read More

The Dternity NAS Helps the Fighting Irish Build a Better Archive

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The University of Notre Dame, based in South Bend, Indiana is a world class university with students that represent all 50 states and over 100 countries. Rigorous academics, NCAA Division I athletics, and numerous events and activities create an environment in which students are ignited with a passion to learn and to live to their fullest capacity.

Consistently ranked in the Top 25 institutions of higher learning by US News & World Report, Notre Dame has over 10,000 students, 4 colleges, 67 undergraduate programs, more than 50 graduate programs, and is home to the famous Fighting Irish Football team that draws fans from all around the world.

The Challenge

“The mission of the Office of IT is to serve as the trusted IT partner to all the Faculty, Staff and Students” says Mike Anderson, Storage Engineer at the University of Notre Dame. “It can be very difficult to satisfy their increasing demands for storage”. Historically IT was responsible for providing enterprise class storage for students, faculty and staff. This was primarily for user accounts, database and email. Large file storage was discouraged and requests for such storage were often denied. “Sometimes we would get requests from a department to store 100 TB or more” says Mike Anderson. “We simply did not have a solution that could accommodate a large archive at that point”.

“We needed an affordable storage solution that could scale to beyond a petabyte and provide data protection to all archived content”
– Mike Anderson, Storage Engineer at the University of Notre Dame

By 2014 it was clear to IT that something had to change. Requests for large file storage was growing and so was the need to archive them. Primary sources of this big data were the Athletics Department that was using more and more cameras to film all their games. Another source was the ever growing University Archives that was making an official effort to digitize and preserve historical data for future use. “We needed an affordable storage solution that could scale to beyond a petabyte and provide data protection to all archived content” said Mike Anderson.

The Solution

“After evaluating many solutions we decided to go with the Dternity NAS and Media Cloud replication service”. The solution is built to fit into existing environments and deliver the simplicity of networks shares along with the superior economics of tape. Notre Dame’s IT department was able to re-purpose their existing tape library as a scale-out NAS using the Dternity appliance.

The athletics department and the university archives could all be given their own CIFS shares that plugged right into their workflows. The easy scalability quickly meets the ever-growing demand for capacity. Data recovery is automatically provided through replication to the Dternity Media Cloud. The Media Cloud is an offsite storage service that store two additional copies of Notre Dame’s content, giving them a total of 3 copies across two geographic locations.

As a starting configuration, Notre Dame built an archive designed to hold at least 750 TB using the Dternity NAS paired with a Spectra Logic LTO-6 library with replication to the Dternity Media Cloud service for added offsite protection.

The Benefits

To date, the IT team has seen an overall decrease in administrative time associated with backing up and archiving research data. Dternity simplifies data protection and disaster recovery by managing multiple file copies without requiring an additional backup application. There has been immediate cost savings already, and 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. Not to mention the security benefits now that less of the information that is supposed to be in the archive is being stored by users on flash drives and other user solutions. “Capacity and scalability were obviously very important to us, but Dternity provided so much more”, said Anderson. “Our customers are happy that their data is automatically copied offsite, and I never have to worry because our archive is fully protected for decades to come”. “The best thing though is how easily automated Dternity is and that our team for the most part never has to touch tape”.


MEET THE FASTEST LTFS NAS

Read More

When it Comes to Video Surveillance, Active Archive Solutions Can Address the “Transparency Paradox”

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Rich Gadomski
V.P. Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

Have you ever noticed the grainy quality of surveillance footage shown on the local news broadcasts? Some unfortunate citizen is getting assaulted after making an ATM withdrawal and you feel like you’re watching a 1930s Charlie Chaplin rerun. The reason for this is that most organizations charged with surveilling public places can’t afford to do so in high resolution and certainly can’t afford to keep the surveillance content for any considerable period of time. Yet wouldn’t it be nice to easily ID the suspect and maybe go back to other video databases to see if there’s a pattern occurring over time?

As a society we want better security and swifter justice. We have the technology to achieve this but we don’t necessarily have the budget. The good news is that a record number of surveillance cameras are shipping year after year. They are also becoming more affordable and resolutions are steadily increasing to include 4K or better.

In fact, demand for video surveillance systems is continuing to explode driven by several factors including increased security threats, legislation, IoT applications, law enforcement applications and increasing affordability of surveillance cameras.

All of this is taking place at a time when society is demanding more transparency into what is happening in our public places and in law enforcement actions. This has resulted in a steady increase in evidentiary content from facility security cameras to body worn cameras, dashboard cameras, interview room audio and video recordings, cell phone data and others. This proliferation of surveillance technology has given rise to the “transparency paradox” where the public demands more recorded evidence which creates the need for more data storage. But we only have limited budgets that can’t handle the increasing data retention burdens.

This is where the concept of an active archive comes into focus providing a solution where organizations can afford to maintain online access to all of their surveillance content in a multi-tiered storage system that leverages the speed of flash and disk with the superior economics of tape. In a typical active archive environment, the file system extends across all storage tiers from primary flash/disk to long term, economy tape storage. Content moves by policy from high cost primary storage to low cost, long term storage. Typically this means LTFS LTO tape featuring the highest capacity, longest archival life, highest reliability and lowest total cost of ownership.

With an active archive in place, organizations can easily and cost effectively maintain more surveillance content at higher resolutions for longer retention periods and can maintain this on-premises to safely control chain of custody.

Expect demand for active archives to solve the “transparency paradox.” It should make the local news more engaging too!

Read More

New Data Storage TCO Calculator Helps Compare Costs Across Various Platforms

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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

A major challenge for IT professionals is estimating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) across various storage platforms. To save costs many large enterprises are turning to a combination of storage platforms while others are thinking about completely abandoning their data centers for the cloud. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to factor in all the costs resulting in enterprises getting blindsided by invisible storage costs such as bandwidth, energy, data retrieval, and more. In terms of cost, the cloud may seem very affordable at first, but in reality, when the total cost of ownership is taken into account the costs begin to surge.

If you are thinking about upgrading your data center or abandoning it for the cloud you need to make sure you do the math. Understanding TCO is critically important to any data storage purchase decision since you will be committing to unavoidable costs for many years into the future.

It’s no surprise that the amount of data and content produced is growing by leaps and bounds, that’s why many large enterprises are turning to LTO tape technology for high capacity, reliability, and costs savings.  LTO tape can provide years of protection at a much lower cost than other storage solutions.

Today, tape and disk work together in disk-based storage systems to address different necessities like backup, offline storage, nearline storage, and capture and offload. Tape technology allows data to remain protected in the event of malware or a data security breach while saving data centers thousands of dollars.

Many enterprises spend large amounts of time crunching the numbers. To help you do the math, storage economics expert Brad Johns of Brad Johns Consulting teamed up with Fujifilm to create a free online tool to calculate 5-year and 10-year scenarios for TCO when using automated tape storage, disk-based storage, and cloud-based archive storage.

TCO calculations are based on data entered into the TCO tool and assumptions are made through publicly available sources, such as vendor websites and industry research. By entering the quantity of data loaded in year 1 (TB), the annual growth rate of stored data, and the percent of data retrieved each year, results may be derived. Capacity is acquired as needed, based on the growth rate of stored data. The derived assumptions are based on historical trends and published research as well as the user-specified capacity.

After entering data into the TCO Calculator, users have the option to download a customizable report, which includes an executive summary, key cost assumptions, and TCO by cost category. The report also includes a detailed analysis of cost type (e.g., energy costs, offsite costs, service fees, bandwidth, etc.).

Find out how you can start saving on your data storage costs. Access the free TCO calculator here.

Read More

Ransomware Hits Brick Wall with Tape Air Gap

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fred Moore
President
Horison Information Strategies

Given the changing landscape of the IT industry, many of the original concepts about backups are delivering additional value and are now back in style. One of those original backup concepts is the 3-2-1 rule. This rule states enterprises should have three copies of backups on two different media types, one of which is kept offsite. There are two ways to have an offsite copy – either with an online (electronic access) or with an offline (manual access) cloud. The offsite and offline copy is rapidly becoming more critical and describes what is now referred to as an “air gap”. An “air gap” is an electronically disconnected copy of data that prevents rolling cybercrime disasters from getting to all your backup copies. The only way to create a physical air gap is to copy data to removable media and store that media offline. This makes tape media an ideal solution for most data centers. An off-site backup and storage facility can be either online, offline or both and can often be the most physically secure facilities in the industry.

You can put an electronic air gap between your backup server and backup storage by making sure that the backup is not accessible via any network or electronic connection. Most tape cartridges typically reside in library racks meaning they are offline well over 95% of the time (protected by the air gap) and are not electronically accessible to hackers.

The air gap prevents cyber-attacks since data stored offline – without an electronic access – cannot be hacked. For example, “ransomware” is the latest crypto-viral extortion technique which encrypts the victim’s files making them inaccessible, and then demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. These new types of attacks embed time-delayed undetected malware into your backup repositories sometimes taking several months to reactivate. This makes file restoration pointless because as you recover your data, the ransomware re-ignites and then re-encrypts the data all over again. This is known as the Attack-Loop™.

Whether you have the best backup solution, the latest anti-virus protection, or multiple versions of back up repositories, this next generation of cybercrime is evolving so quickly that those concepts seldom matter anymore. In a cloud-based backup, critical data is backed-up over the internet and most likely stored in a shared storage infrastructure at an off-site data center maintained by a third-party cloud company providing backup, archiving and replication services.

Fortunately, Attack Loop software is now becoming available and uses signature-less technology which checks and quarantines malicious code upon entry into the backup repository and again prior to recovery into your online environment. Combining offline tape storage with Attack Loop software yields the greatest chance of preventing cybercrime.

Given the rising wave of cybercrime, the role of tape-based offline storage and cloud solutions taking advantage of the “Tape Air Gap” is back in style.

Read More

Thoughts on New 12 Generation LTO Tape Road Map

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rich Gadomski
V.P. Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

The newly update roadmap released by the LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs) in October 2017, now spans an amazing 12 generations. The original LTO roadmap released in 2000 featured just the original four generations with LTO- 1 at 100 GB and LTO-4 at 800 GB capacity. Other popular tape formats like DDS and DLT had just four or five generations over their entire lifespan. IBM enterprise tape has had a pretty good run when you factor in 3480, 3490, 3590 and 3592 JA, JB, JC, and JD.

LTO certainly has had a very good run these past 17 years and figures to have decades left to go. If we assume two to two-and-a-half years between generations, and based on LTO-8 as newly introduced at the start of 2018, we might expect Gen 12 to be in the market around 2028. The spec on LTO-12 is 192 TB native (480 TB compressed assuming 2.5:1 compression). Is this even achievable based on current tape technology? After all, we are at 6.0 TB on LTO-7 today and LTO-8 is slated for 12.0 TB native.

This is where the importance of long-term research and development comes into play. Recall that in 2006, IBM and Fujifilm demonstrated the achievement of an areal density of 6.7 Gbpsi (billions of bits per square inch) which gave us the potential to achieve up to 8.0 TB native capacity on a single cartridge based on the first generation of Barium Ferrite magnetic particles. Sure enough, by 2011 the first multi-terabyte tapes came to market at 4.0 TB and 5.0 TB from IBM and Oracle respectively. This was followed by LTO-6 at 2.5 TB in 2012. Fast forward to 2015 when IBM and Fujifilm demonstrated the achievement of 123 Gbpsi with potential for a native 220 TB cartridge using 3rd generation Barium Ferrite magnetic particles.

More recently Sony and IBM demonstrated 201 Gbpsi with potential for a 330 TB cartridge and Fujifilm’s Strontium Ferrite next-generation magnetic particle promises more than 400 TB on a cartridge with an areal density of approximately 224 Gpsi. How dense can the areal density get? If you look at HDD areal density, it is greater than 1,000 Gpsi. So, we can safely say that tape has no fundamental technology limitations and can achieve not only Gen 12 but many generations beyond that. This, of course, makes tape a safe bet for long-term migration plans at a cost that will continue to be significantly lower than competing technologies.

Ultrium Roadmap

Read More

Welcome Letter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rich Gadomski
V.P. Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

On behalf of FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., I want to welcome you to the Fujifilm Insights Blog. Fujifilm Recording Media is the world’s largest manufacturer of data tape – the most reliable storage solution at the lowest total cost of ownership. Our technology is born from decades of experience and a commitment to R&D that has led to breakthrough products.

In today’s world of exponential data growth, it is critical that data is not only stored but truly protected and secured. Our primary goal is to continue to store and protect—well into the future—the world’s data. We do this because we understand that a company’s data is its DNA. However, to achieve this, we will need to continue to respond to present-day data storage challenges and continue to connect with our customers on the latest industry trends and best practices in data storage.

So, what is the best way to communicate year round with data storage professionals across many markets? Do you hold more events, increase social media, or start a YouTube channel?

If you are reading this, then the answer is obvious. We began a blog because it was the most inclusive platform where our content could evolve organically as our industry evolves as well. The Fujifilm Insights Blog will navigate the industry landscape with informative posts covering industry trends, behind the scenes insights, customer Q&A’s, industry influencer interviews, and more.

We look forward to providing industry perspective and thought leadership on a variety of data storage topics and hope you will join in on the conversation as well.

As we grow, we will be looking for new topics and guest contributors in order to continue to create content that interests readers and provides value. What would you like to hear? Let us know.

Read More

Whitehead Institute Cracks the Code on Cost-Effective Storage

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

(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 >