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.
I had the opportunity to attend in person and present on the latest in tape technology at the 16th Annual Flash Memory Summit (FMS) held in Santa Clara last week. That’s right, tape technology at a flash conference. My friends from the DNA Data Storage Alliance were there presenting too. So what gives?
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.
As I started to write this blog on recent ransomware observations, an email message popped up on my PC from our IT department advising of additional and more stringent security enhancements taking place almost immediately to toughen my company’s cybersecurity and increase our protection against current and emerging threats. A sign of these cybercrime times, indeed!
Ransomware Trending According to a February 2022 Alert from CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency), 2021 trends showed an increasing threat of ransomware to organizations globally with tactics and techniques continuing to evolve in technological sophistication. So-called “big game” organizations like Colonial Pipeline, Kronos, JBS, Kaseya, and SolarWinds made the ransomware headlines over the past year or so. But according to the CISA Alert, by mid-2021, many ransomware threat actors, under pressure from U.S. authorities, turned their attention toward mid-sized victims to reduce the scrutiny and disruption caused by said authorities.
In a recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) study, 64% of respondents said their organization had paid a ransom to regain access to data, applications, or systems. These findings are supported by the latest Threat Landscape report from the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. It highlighted a 150% rise in ransomware in 2021 compared to 2020. The agency expects that trend to continue, and even accelerate in 2022.
But these numbers hide the stark reality of the ransomware scourge. Gangs like DarkSide, REvil, and BlackMatter are terrorizing organizations with ransomware – and they are getting smarter and more organized. They have moved beyond the basic ploy of infecting files, locking users out of their data, and demanding a fee. They still want money. But they also endanger reputations by exposing attacks, blackmailing companies by threatening to reveal corporate or personal dirty laundry, and selling intellectual property (IP) to competitors.
As a result, cybersecurity spending has become a priority in most organizations. According to ESG, 69% of organizations plan to spend more on cybersecurity in 2022 than in the previous year, while 68% of senior IT decision-makers identify ransomware as one of their organization’s top 5 business priorities. Such is the fear factor that organizations are now treating cybersecurity ahead of other organizational imperatives such as the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), digital transformation, and application development.
New Federal Mandate and the SEC Takes Action On March 15th, in an effort to thwart cyberattacks from foreign spies and criminal hacking groups, President Biden signed into law a requirement for many critical-infrastructure companies to report to the government when they have been hacked. This way, authorities can better understand the scope of the problem and take appropriate action.
It’s also no wonder that the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking action. On March 9th, the SEC voted 3 to 1 to propose reporting and disclosures related to cybercrime incidents and preparedness. In a nutshell, the SEC will be asking publicly traded companies:
To disclose material cybersecurity incidents
To disclose its policies and procedures to identify and manage cybersecurity risks
To disclose management’s role and expertise in managing cybersecurity risks
To disclose the board of director’s oversight role
Specifically, the SEC will want to know:
Whether a company undertakes activities to prevent, detect and minimize the effects of cybersecurity incidents
Whether it has business continuity, contingency, and recovery plans in the event of a cybersecurity incident
Whether the entire board, certain board members, or a board committee is responsible for the oversight of cybersecurity risks
Whether and how the board or board committee considers cybersecurity risks as part of its business strategy, risk management, and financial oversight
Holding publicly traded companies and their boards accountable for best practices in combating ransomware is a big step in the right direction and will no doubt free up the required budgets and resources.
Lowering the Fear Factor Cybersecurity is already a top spending priority for 2022 and with SEC regulations looming, will likely continue to be a priority for quite some time. Companies are busy beefing up the tools and resources needed to thwart ransomware. They are buying intrusion response tools and services, extended or managed detection and response suites, security information and event management platforms, antivirus, anti-malware, next-generation firewalls, and more, including cybercrime insurance policies.
What may be missing in the spending frenzy, however, are some fundamental basics that can certainly lower the fear factor. Backup tools are an essential ingredient in being able to swiftly recover from ransomware or other attacks. Similarly, thorough and timely patch management greatly lowers the risk of hackers finding a way into the enterprise via an unpatched vulnerability.
Another smart purchase is software that scans data and backups to ensure that no ransomware or malware is hidden inside. It is not uncommon for a ransomware victim to conduct a restore and find that its backup files have also been corrupted by malware. Cleansing data that is ready to be backed up has become critical. These are some of the fundamental basics that need to be in place in the fight against ransomware. Organizations that neglect them suffer far more from breaches than those that take care of them efficiently.
Adding an Air Gap Another fundamental basic is the elegantly simple air gap. When data is stored in the cloud, on disk, or in a backup appliance, it remains connected to the network. This leaves it vulnerable to unauthorized access and infection from bad actors. An air gap is essentially a physical gap between data and the network. It disconnects backed up or archived data from the Internet.
Such a gap commonly exists by partitioning in, or removing tapes from, an automated tape library and either storing them on a shelf or sending them to a secure external service provider. If that data is properly scanned prior to being backed up or archived to ensure it is free of infection, it offers certainty that a corruption-free copy of data exists. If a ransomware attack occurs, the organization can confidently fall back on a reliable copy of its data – and avoid any ransom demands.
Effectively Combatting Ransomware There is no silver security bullet that will 100% guarantee freedom from ransomware. It is truly a multi-faceted strategy. Implementation of best-of-breed security tools is certainly necessary. But they must be supported by the steadfast application of backup and patching best practices and the addition of a tape-based air gap.
CISA, the FBI, and cybersecurity insurance companies all recommend offline, offsite, air-gapped copies of data. This can be achieved cost-effectively with today’s removable, and highly portable modern tape technology. The boards of publicly traded companies will likely want to do whatever it takes to demonstrate compliance with best practices to meet the SEC requirements. This should include air-gapped tape as part of a prudent and comprehensive strategy. A best practice in these cybercrime times, indeed!
It seems like 2020 and 2021 have blended to combine into one long, tough time for all of us. Let’s hope 2022 emerges on the brighter side! In the meantime, here are 5 big predictions we see coming up in this New Year and beyond:
1. Increasing Focus on IT Energy Consumption
Severe weather was once again a hallmark of 2021, from the Texas deep freeze right up to the bitter end of 2021. As unusual tornadoes and wildfires reminded us of the negative impact of global warming and climate change.
According to a report from the United Nations released in August of 2021, irreversible damage has already been done to the environment as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. The world showed renewed interest in the COP 26 conference in Glasgow where countries from around the globe gathered to pledge their commitments to combat climate change.
Wall Street got in on the act too and will increasingly demand that companies disclose their sustainability initiatives and results. Accordingly, more and more companies will be appointing Chief Sustainability Officers who will put pressure on their organization’s energy usage including energy-intensive IT operations. The use of renewables, but also energy conservation measures will be mandated.
Curbing CO2 emissions is quickly becoming a C-suite imperative and storage will not escape the scrutiny. Research shows that 81% of CIOs would consider alternative data storage options that are more cost-effective and sustainable. This will set the stage for new tape system deployments that not only can reduce TCO by more than 70%, but can reduce CO2 emissions by 95% compared to traditional HDD storage.
2. Return to Hybrid Cloud Strategies
Prior to COVID 19, the term “cloud repatriation” appeared often in the press as it turned out that cloud was not a panacea for everything. But COVID 19 understandably created short-term storage strategies often resulting in a flight to the cloud.
However, long-term thinking will favor hybrid cloud strategies where the best of public cloud plus on-prem private cloud provides maximum flexibility and value. This will especially apply to data accessibility, regulatory requirements, data governance, and cybercrime risks including ransomware.
Today’s modern automated tape solutions will provide the advantages of cost, scalability, reliability, and data protection to support the hybrid cloud model.
3. Storage Optimization Will Be Key to Data Growth Management
With the continuing digital transformation comes the zettabyte age of storage where data to be stored globally will approach 6.0 zettabytes (ZB) in 2022, according to a leading IT industry analyst. Just one ZB would require 55 million 18.0 TB HDDs or 55 million 18.0 TB LTO-9 cartridges!
Storage optimization, that is to say, getting the right data, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost will be critical to maintaining competitive advantage.
Intelligent data management will be required, leveraging multiple tiers of storage, active archives, and innovative S3-compatible archive solutions for object storage. Nowhere will this be more apparent than in digital preservation and high-performance computing environments with a simple need to offload expensive object storage to cost-effective tape systems using an S3-compatible API.
4. Continuing Rise of Ransomware
It has been said that ransomware is only in “its infancy” and it’s been said many more times, an attack is not a matter of “if” but “when.” The FBI and CISA have weighed in with this advice:
“Backup your data, system images, and configurations, test your backups, and keep backups offline.”
As ransomware hackers mature in sophistication (and profits), online backups are increasingly being targeted to hamper recovery efforts, including cloud-based backups connected to a network. As a result, the value of affordable, removable, and highly-portable tape will only increase, providing true air gap protection (meaning offline, offsite backups in a secure location).
5. Video Surveillance Content Management
As we predicted last year, data tape has increasingly become a strategic option in managing the ballooning volume of video content associated with video surveillance applications.
Due to security reasons, regulatory compliance, or for future analytics, retention volumes and periods will only increase making legacy HDD solutions cost-prohibitive and unsustainable in terms of energy consumption. Look for increasing adoption of cost-effective tier 2 tape in video retention workflows in 2022.
Successfully emerging from the combined years of 2020 and 2021 will require getting back to strategic, long-term planning. Given the relentless growth of data, environmental concerns, and limited resources and budgets, today’s highly advanced tape storage will play an increasingly vital role in 2022 and beyond.
Climate change and the effects of global warming have increasingly been in the spotlight as we emerge from the all-consuming COVID pandemic. Indeed, sustainability has become a strategic imperative for organizations across the globe.
Recognizing the magnitude of this issue in the energy-intensive IT industry and in data storage operations specifically, Fujifilm has endeavored to help raise awareness of the energy advantage of today’s modern and highly advanced tape solutions.
In recent whitepapers by Brad Johns Consulting, IDC, Horison Information Strategies, and others, you can read about the energy advantage of tape compared to alternative storage technologies like HDD. But does it actually help end-users meet their sustainability goals in real-world applications?
To answer this question, I recently hosted a virtual roundtable discussion entitled, “Is Tape Really Eco-Friendly?” The panelists included two end-users, Jason Adrian from Microsoft Azure and Vladimir Bahyl from CERN. To review his whitepaper findings, I invited Brad Johns, TCO and energy consumption expert. And to provide feedback from the broader market of end-users, I invited Shawn Brume from IBM to share his observations.
The roundtable kicked off with a brief recap of Brad John’s analysis where he finds that for long-term storage of inactive or cold data, tape consumes 87%less energy than equivalent amounts of hard disk drives, produces 87% less carbon emissions, and reduces TCO by 86%. When looking at the total product lifecycle from procurement of raw material to production, distribution, usage, and disposal, tape produces 95% less CO2 equivalents and produces 80% less electronic waste than hard disk drives.
Those are pretty compelling numbers! But are the end-users seeing that benefit?
Jason Adrian from Microsoft Azure weighed in with the following comment: “When you take the material savings and power savings, tape actually does offer quite a bit of advantage compared to other technologies that are on the market today.”
Vladimir Bahyl from CERN offered; “We have been using tape for over 50 years at CERN. We are fully aware of the possibility to have hard drives that spin down and this saves some power when not in use. However, this completely changes the workflow that we have in-house…and adds complexity. Our archive is not a super cold archive, it is actually an active archive and tape is a natural building block in this system.”
Shawn Brume from IBM observed; “You can bring the total CO2 down to .42 metric tons per year per petabyte with tape. Which for most customers is 2 to 4X better in the overall lifecycle than HDD and believe it or not, 2 to 4X better than flash/SSDs. Customers are seeing that tape represents significant sustainability value.”
As organizations and IT operations specifically seek to achieve their sustainability goals, strategically moving inactive, infrequently accessed, cool or cold data to tape can have substantial environmental benefits.
In early August of this year, a United Nations panel called the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)” issued a new report, the Sixth Assessment Report, on climate change and global warming. You can explore the lengthy and technical full report here. But in short, a few key headline statements from the report include:
It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere have occurred.
Global warming of 1.5 degrees C and 2.0 degrees C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.
Many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming. They include increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions, and intense tropical cyclones as well as reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover, and permafrost.
Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets, and global sea level.
The U.N. report is pretty scary, especially that last bullet. But think about the severe weather events we experienced in 2020 only to be outdone by recent calamities in 2021 like the Texas deep freeze, the record heat in the Pacific Northwest, torrential floods in Europe, China and the U.S., extreme storms, not to mention the worsening forest fires.
A Time for IT to Take Action on Climate Change
We as a society, as individuals and as commercial organizations and governments need to take action. No effort is too small, even turning off a single light switch when not needed is worthwhile. Collectively we can make a difference.
The IT industry is no exception and needs to take action. Data centers are major consumers of energy amidst rapid and widespread digital transformation initiatives resulting in exponential data growth. While the IT industry has made significant strides in ramping up renewable sources of energy, it can’t come online fast enough or cheaply enough to make a big difference. What is also needed is energy conservation and storage is a good place to start.
Assessing the Eco-Friendly Advantages of Tape
Back in November of 2020 industry expert and consultant Brad Johns published a whitepaper on the energy advantage of today’s modern and highly advanced data tape systems. That paper, entitled “Reducing Data Center Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions with Modern Tape” showed:
Tape systems consume 87% less energy and therefore reduce CO2 emissions by 87% compared to equivalent capacities of HDD storage.
What’s more, the lower energy consumption of tape contributes to an 86% reduction in TCO.
More recently, Brad Johns did an even deeper dive into the energy advantage of tape in a second whitepaper on the subject entitled: “Improving Information Technology Sustainability with Modern Tape Storage.” This time, instead of just looking at energy consumption during the operational usage phase of tape vs. HDD, Brad decided to look at the energy consumption and environmental impact of tape vs. HDD from “cradle to grave.” That is to say, from sourcing of raw materials to manufacturing, to distribution, to usage, and disposal at end of life. Here are the key findings:
Tape produces 95% less CO2 than HDD during its lifecycle from manufacturing to disposal.
Electronic waste (e-waste) at the time of disposal is reduced by 80% for tape compared to HDD.
Ten-year TCO in this paper shows a 73% reduction for tape compared to HDD.
Brad also did a “what if” scenario as follows: what if industry best practices were truly observed and 60% of HDD data was moved to tape systems?
72 million tons of CO2 would be avoided, a 57% reduction compared to keeping all the data on HDD!
To download this whitepaper for complete details, click here.
While simply using more tape for cold and inactive data won’t solve climate change or make scary U.N. reports go away, it certainly is a positive contribution to the global effort. We all need to do whatever we can so that collectively we can make a difference.
I recently attended a webinar about why IT folks have a love/hate relationship with the cloud. They love the cloud because of its on-demand flexibility, unlimited compute and storage capacity, elimination of CAPEX costs, etc. They hate it, according to the webinar presenter, because of the cost that often produces “sticker shock.” Other irritants might include regulatory compliance issues and cyber security concerns.
To be completely fair to the cloud, the presenter explained that discipline and accountability could be brought to bear to help control costs and that organizations need to establish “a cloud center of excellence.” But at the same time, the presenter showed data from a study that suggested that 58% of respondents were moving some cloud-based workloads back to on-premises, private cloud environments. Finally, the presenter advised the audience to “understand your true cost of IT, TCO tools are out there!”
Getting Back to Hybrid Storage Strategies
I think the overall message of the webinar was that the cloud is great when used for the right applications and that a hybrid approach including a healthy mix of public cloud plus private cloud makes a lot of sense. In fact, the trend prior to COVID-19 appeared to be clearly hybrid. Cloud repatriation was happening as IT managers realized that the cloud is not a panacea for everything. During the COVID period, private cloud data centers were understaffed and under-supported by vendors, so the path of least resistance was to over-leverage the public cloud once again. As we begin to emerge from COVID lockdowns and IT staff returns to the data center, attention is being paid once again to finding a healthy mix of public cloud and on-premises private cloud.
This approach only makes sense and clearly reinforces that it is not an either-or scenario. In the case of storage, the cloud complements on-premises storage including today’s highly advanced and automated tape systems. Cloud comes in handy for example when on-demand access is frequently needed by multiple clients while tape systems can manage less frequently accessed and large data sets needing long-term retention including sensitive data and mission-critical data that can be air-gapped as a cyber security best practice. Tape is particularly well suited for these applications thanks to tape’s:
Ease of scalability
Ease of removability
Long archival life and reliability
Low energy consumption and low carbon footprint
TCO Tools are Out There
Getting back to the webinar story and the advice to “understand your true cost of IT,” indeed TCO tools are out there and Fujifilm is pleased to offer a free, web-based interactive TCO tool developed by IT economics expert Brad Johns Consulting, LLC. This tool compares 5 year and 10 year TCO of automated tape systems to economy disk systems and cloud-based cold storage. The tool allows users to input the volume of data to be stored, the annual growth rate, the percent of cloud data retrieval as well as other variables such as the local cost per Kwh, the expense of full time storage management staff, number of copies of data, etc. The tool has been available for many years now and has evolved overtime to be as comprehensive as possible and includes the following CAPEX and OPEX cost variables:
Media and hardware for disk and tape
Maintenance for disk and tape
Energy for disk and tape
Offsite vaulting for tape
Storage management for disk, tape, and cloud
Storage and retrieval fees for cloud
Data transfer fees for cloud
Business level support for cloud
Reducing Energy Consumption and CO2 with Tape
Regarding the cost of energy for disk and tape, this expense can be significant over time especially for disk systems that are constantly spinning 24/7 generating heat and therefore require cooling. Given the heightened awareness of global warming and climate change, organizations are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint. Data center operations are no exception and have been spotlighted for their energy-intensive applications. Making greater use of renewable energy is part of the answer, but renewable energy can’t come online fast enough, or cheaply enough, to keep up with exponential data growth. Conservation has an even bigger potential to make a difference and that is where tape systems really shine.
Studies show that under certain scenarios inclusive of data management servers and network infrastructure, tape consumes 87% less energy than equivalent amounts of disk storage and therefore produces 87% less CO2 all while reducing TCO by 86% at the same time. Given that data quickly becomes static and frequency of access goes down dramatically after just 30 to 90 days, it makes sense to move that data from energy-intensive and higher cost tiers of storage like flash, performance disk, or even economy disk to lower-cost, energy-efficient tape systems. A good active archive architecture with intelligent data management software is a great way to achieve such storage optimization (getting the right data, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost).
To help highlight the energy advantage of tape and its reduction in CO2, the Fujifilm TCO tool now includes a calculation purely focused on the storage hardware layer that shows the reduction in CO2 compared to disk systems, with an example shown below based on storing 5.0 PB for 10 years with 30% annual growth and 12% data retrieval from the cloud.
So not only is TCO reduced with automated tape systems compared to disk and cloud storage, but a meaningful reduction in CO2 can be achieved and that is exactly what we all need to be doing to help slow down the negative impacts of global warming and climate change.
In this Q&A, we talk to Andy Feather, Sr. Director, Engineering & Technical Services at FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. about the company’s tape manufacturing process and robust sustainability efforts.
How long has Fujifilm been manufacturing LTO tapes in the U.S.?
We first started LTO tape manufacturing here in Bedford in September 2003. This was the start of LTO-1 and we have made every generation since then up to the current LTO-8.
How has the manufacturing process changed over the years?
At the start of LTO production, as with most start-up manufacturing processes, it was a very manual process, over the years we have added more and more automation. We’ve also refined our methods for controlling the manufacturing equipment so, for example, on the winding machines, we focus on preventive maintenance and sophisticated process control to monitor the quality during the tape winding process. This allows us to reduce the dependence on testing cartridges after they have been wound.
In our packaging operations, we have focused on improvements for the environment. We’ve introduced soy-based inks for all our printed materials and we’ve eliminated most of the paper instruction sheets and user labels. We’ve switched to recycled paper and corrugated and reduced the thickness of the plastic cases. In our latest “bulk” packaging design we have eliminated corrugated completely and reduced the use of plastic shrink film to the absolute bare minimum.
“Having our manufacturing facility in the U.S. allows us to respond quickly to any customer request.” – Andy Feather
What are the advantages of having a manufacturing facility located in the U.S.?
Having our manufacturing facility in the U.S. allows us to respond quickly to any customer request. Much of our production volume is customized with barcode labels specific to a customer’s order. We can receive the order, custom print and apply the barcode labels, and then drop ship to any location in the U.S. within 48 hours.
Was Fujifilm’s manufacturing facility impacted by COVID?
As an essential business, our manufacturing facility has remained open through the pandemic. Naturally, we took every precaution to ensure our employees remained safe, including providing masks and reorganizing the facility to accommodate for social distancing. During the peak of the pandemic last year we minimized the number of staff on-site to just the critical manufacturing employees. To achieve this we implemented working from home for as many of the administrative functions as possible. We also implemented a strict visitor policy that ensured that only visitors essential to the ongoing functioning of the manufacturing facility was permitted on-site and while on-site all visitors were required to follow the COVID restrictions,
What changed during COVID and have you kept some of the new processes you may have implemented?
As the pandemic thankfully subsided in the fall of last year we were able to relax some of the restrictions and gradually bring more people back into the facility. We still have people working from home and continue to social distance while in the facility. With the experience from last year, we are looking at our work from home policy to allow continued flexibility for our employees where possible.
What are some of the green initiatives manufacturing has initiated?
The solar panel installation project at our Bedford manufacturing facility began in response to a FUJIFILM corporate mission of energy conservation and Greenhouse gas reduction to address issues of climate change. With 1,870 solar modules, our solar installation has produced 2,977,000 kWh since its inception in November of 2013. That is the equivalent amount of energy used by 4,666 homes during an entire month. It is also the equivalent to a reduction of 1,787 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Over 20 years, this would equal the carbon sequestered by 7,280 acres of U.S. forest in one year.
In addition to our solar panels, we have just recently converted to LED lighting in our manufacturing facility. By converting to LED bulbs we will reduce our carbon footprint by approximately one-third, minimize daily maintenance work, decrease our UV emissions to zero and overall be more energy efficient. With over 3,000 bulbs replaced, we estimate a savings of 400,000 kWh this year!
Of course, tape is the greenest form of data storage available consuming 87% less energy than the equivalent hard drive storage.
What are some of the largest accomplishments manufacturing has achieved that you are particularly proud of?
Fujifilm continues to innovate the technology of LTO tape working with our OEM partners to further enhance the performance of LTO tape cartridges. As each successive generation of LTO is released, tape cartridge capacity and performance increase which naturally imposes tighter and tighter requirements on the tape, the cartridge, and all the components that go into the product. In manufacturing, we’ve been able to innovate the production processes to stay ahead of the technical challenges of manufacturing a product that operates in the realm of sub-nanometer tolerances. We’ve achieved this through a continual focus on automation and the dedication and expertise of our engineers and technical personnel.
By Andrew Dodd, Guest Blogger, Worldwide Marketing Communications Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage
The presence of a ring of video surveillance cameras clinging to a vantage spot like a cluster of digital coconuts has long been a familiar sight in public spaces. And for many years, in both Hollywood and on television, countless storylines have turned on whether the detectives or investigators could access CCTV footage and solve the mystery by reviewing the tale of the tape.
But although the idea of cameras and surveillance has become an accepted feature of society (like it or not), what is less obvious perhaps is how much the market for video surveillance equipment is growing and how much the cameras themselves have changed. Both of these factors have profound implications for digital storage.
You had better be ready for your close up
First, the market. A 2020 report from IDC entitled “Worldwide Video Surveillance Camera Forecast, 2020-2025” (#US46230720) estimates that by 2025, the worldwide video surveillance camera market will grow to $44 billion, up from $23.6 billion in 2019, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 13%. This is largely due to the increasing adoption of smart camera systems and analytical software that enables them to be utilized in a variety of roles — beyond simple surveillance. Another report, by research firm IHS Markit, predicts that by the end of 2021 alone, there will be 1 billion surveillance cameras installed globally, with over 50% of those in a single country: China.
The growth of 4K
In the past, video surveillance cameras have sometimes been criticised both for their ubiquity and their usefulness: critics pointed out that although the cameras seemed to be proliferating in many public spaces, their benefit was undermined by poor image quality and resolution. Not any more. The next-gen cameras that are driving the growth to 2025 will increasingly deliver HD and Ultra HD (4K) images of astonishing detail and clarity. In turn, this is opening up a wealth of new applications that can be managed by artificial intelligence systems: for example, monitoring industrial equipment, providing security, and (more controversially) real-time facial recognition.
Why are cameras being deployed?
Many of today’s larger organizations such as hospitals, airports, university campuses, and casinos find themselves needing a video surveillance system as either a replacement for an aging CCTV installation or as a brand-new installation. The ability to quickly and easily provide high-resolution video evidence of a security incident can be very relevant in narrowing down suspects in case of a crime. And the same video evidence can also limit the liability of an organization in case of a lawsuit. So there are clearly business benefits in upgrading to the latest surveillance technology.
The storage challenge
But if the number of cameras is increasing rapidly, and if the quality of the images they produce is becoming more refined and detailed, then all of this can only mean one thing: we’re going to need a lot more storage. Gone are the days when weeks of footage could be kept on a handful of old videotapes that could be wiped and reused at the end of the month. In the first instance, today’s surveillance cameras record primarily record to disk. And a single hour of RAW 4K video footage produced by just one unit consumes something in the region of 110GB of disk capacity. Multiply this by millions of hours, and hundreds of millions of cameras, and it’s clear that video surveillance applications will require colossal amounts of storage, not just for the primary purpose of storing the original footage, but also for backing up and archiving that material.
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