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Reducing Carbon Emissions through the Data Tape Ecosystem

Reading Time: 5 minutes

April 20, 2021

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

If there was ever a time for industries and governments around the world to come together and finally take steps to mitigate climate change, now would seem to be it. The return of the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement and the recent U.S. –  China talks on climate change are all positive signs when it comes to moving the needle forward on sustainability initiatives. While fighting COVID-19 took center stage in 2020 and early 2021, our future depends on what we do collectively to reduce our environmental impact now and in the immediate years ahead.

It’s Hard to Deny Global Warming and Climate Change

According to an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, NASA has ranked 2020 as tied with 2016 for the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. In a separate assessment, NOAA  (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), which relies on slightly different temperature records and methods, calculated that the global average temperature last year was the second highest to date – just 0.04 degrees Fahrenheit shy of tying the record set in 2016.

On top of the record number of hurricanes and the wildfires out west, the recent Texas deep freeze, which caused widespread power outages and other weather-related tragedies and calamities, seems to be just one more example of climate change. Weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable, which can result in extreme heat, cold and increased intensity of natural disasters.

It is widely acknowledged that global temperatures have been rising especially in the north polar region where we have seen a dramatic shrinking of the polar ice cap. When Arctic air warms, it sets off an atmospheric phenomenon that weakens the polar vortex (the normal jet stream of wind that keeps frigid air to the north) and allows cold air to fall…as far as Texas.

Data Center Energy Consumption and the Advantage of Modern Tape Technology

The key to mitigating the worst impacts of climate change is a reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases produced by humans. Producing energy is extremely resource-intensive, so reducing the amount of energy we consume in all aspects of our lives is of critical importance.

Data centers are significant consumers of energy accounting for as much as 2% of global demand and rising to 8% by some estimates. Data centers can do their part to reduce energy consumption in many ways by becoming more energy-efficient, including simply migrating the vast amounts of still valuable, but rarely accessed, “cold data”.

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Fujifilm’s Tape Evangelist on The Future of Tape Storage

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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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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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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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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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Whiteboard Video: Data – Use It or Lose It

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April 15, 2020

According to IDC, data growth will reach 175 Zettabytes by 2025. Among that data, approximately 7.5 ZB will be archived or stored.

In this Fujifilm Summit video, storage analyst George Crump talks to IBM’s Shawn Brume about the importance of getting the right data and making sure it is being stored in the right way.

Watch the video here.

 

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LTO-8 Delivers!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Rich Gadomski

March 19, 2020

As LTO-8 drives and media are increasingly deployed and widely available, the value proposition of LTO-8 is being confirmed by customers and it’s a pretty impressive story.

In the case of a major high-performance computing (HPC) customer who had been using LTO-6 previously for their archive, the jump to LTO-8 has done wonders for their available capacity. With approximately 7,000 slots in their library, fully loaded with LTO-6 media at 2.5TB each yielded a total native storage capacity of 17.5 PB. Migrating to LTO-8 drives and eventually converting those slots to LTO-8 media at 12.0 TB gives them up to a massive 84 PBs, almost a 5X increase. That’s lots of room to scale as needed!

Performance also gets a big boost as LTO-6 drives are rated at 160 MB per second transfer rate compared to LTO-8 drives at 360 MB per second. This means fewer drives are required to meet the same performance objectives. As a result, TCO also gets a major boost as fewer drives, fewer pieces of media and no additional floor space or library frames are required to manage the same amount of data.

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Part 3: Video Series on Unstructured Data

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In this video Brendan Sullivan, Fred Moore and Chris Dale discuss how the future archives of legacy data on high density LTO media could be much more than they are today providing less risk, lower cost and more business value:
Watch the full video here.
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Part 2: Video Series on Unstructured Data

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In this video Brendan Sullivan, Fred Moore and Chris Dale discuss the challenges of managing unstructured data in today’s off-site storage vaults. This includes proposed and developing solutions that have been created to finally resolve the issues of remediation of data from un-cataloged environments, and how modern tape technologies can play a part in housing legacy data.
Watch the full video here.
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Containing the Archival Avalanche

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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. Newly created worldwide digital data is expected to grow at 30% or more annually through 2025 mandating the emergence of an ever smarter and more secure long-term storage infrastructure. Data retention requirements vary widely, but archival data is rapidly piling up. Digital archiving is now a required discipline to comply with government regulations for storing financial, customer, legal and patient information. Most data typically reach archival status in 90 days or less, and archival data is accumulating at over 50% compounded annually.

Many data types are being stored indefinitely anticipating that eventually its potential value might be unlocked. Industry surveys indicate nearly 60% of businesses plan to retain data in some digital format 50 years or more and a growing amount of archival data will never be modified or deleted. For most organizations, facing terabytes, petabytes and even 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, archiving and data preservation become a critical practice.

It’s time to develop your game plan! Check out this white paper from Horison Information Strategies to learn more.

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