Libraries on StorageSearch.com|
from the glory days of the past,
surviving VTL and looping onwards towards flash
editor - StorageSearch.com
Believe it or not - back in 1999 this tape library page was
one of the most popular destinations on this website.
A year later -
in 2000 - I published the first online directory dedicated to
enterprise disk to disk bakup
(as we called it in those days) and it's been called many things along the way
since - D2d, VTL, cloud...
Anyway you're still using tape. You may not like it - but due to
massive amounts of data, legacy architectures, etc etc - you're still using tape
libraries. If so - I've got some surprising news for you...
may be able to skip the transition to hard disk backup!
you're a Huge data owner and still using tape - I suggest you read my
roadmap to the
petabyte SSD article. Even if hard drives become free - they
won't scale to a petabyte in 1U - whereas solid state storage will. I expect
SSD libraries will be the next thing in your future. But you may still got to
hang in there for another 5 years of managing all those tape cartridges in the
|Tape's glory days|
libraries once defined the aristocracy in the
as you can see from reading archived news stories from earlier decades of
- tape libraries were used by the biggest owners of data and supplied by the
growing storage companies.
what about the future? - Looping
beyond platters to solid state
If you don't already use
tape backup - then I suggest you don't start now.
It's a storage
technology which is only being maintained by a declining number of vendors
supporting a declining market (less than 1/2 the revenue it was at the peak 10
years ago). In the declining phases of technology markets vendors can make
lots of profit by exploiting user inertia and exploiting the fact that new
vendors rarely enter stagnant end of life markets - thereby reducing price
hard disk based backup has
replaced the role which tape used to play as the most common high performance
enterprise backup media.
enterprise hard disk backup itself will be obsolete and replaced by solid state
backup. The transition
from HDD to SSD backup will be a discontinuous and disruptive process. And
because the new SSD bulk storage architectures will not be simply VTLs populated
by SSDs instead of
HDDs - but entirely new
types of products with different operating characteristics - it's likely that
many current VTL vendors will fail to transition to the new technologies.
nothing new in this. The tides of sweeping change roll through the computer
market every 10 to 15 years. The web means we learn about new technologies
faster - but it still takes a long time for users and vendors to adapt, migrate
and learn new ways of doing new things.
|Tape Library News|
|As flash puts the squeaze
on D2d will tape benefit as a zero energy archive?|
20, 2016 - Have you wondered what has been happening in the tape storage
industry, if anything? - said Fred
Moore, President - Horison
Information Strategies - in the enticing preamble to his article -
Manifesto for the 21st Century (pdf) - (published in December 2015).
other things Fred says - "The shift in the storage landscape is underway as
high performance data finds its way onto flash SSD and lower activity and
archive data migrate to modern tape. As a result, the amount of data stored on
HDDs is facilitating a storage squeeze play"... ...read
the article (pdf)
Editor's comments:- Among other
things Fred Moore managed the engineering of early enterprise SSDs for
was curious to see what he's writing about nowadays.
the state of tape in 2015
Editor:- January 20, 2015
- 2 interesting ideas about tape backup were discussed in a new blog -
Still Loving Tape in 2015 by
- Google still relies on tape backup. Jon Toigo says "Google has
conceded publicly that its email service would have been non-recoverable in an
outage that occurred last year had it not been for good old tape."
...read the article
- An important reliability factor in tape drives is the "Carbon Robot
(the operator, that is)" due to the risk of damage which occurs when a tape
is dropped on the floor. - Jon Toigo says that's what led to a new startup -
Enterprises - which by using sensors - can report to an enabled storage
system that the drive is suspected of having been damaged.
will flash save tape? - flape
Editor:- November 9,
2012 - "Flape" - flash cached tape archive - is a new word discussed
in a blog - Flape
and Floud - by Steve
Kenniston - The Storage
Alchemist who says "Over the last two decades I have been in this
business, tape has been killed off more than a bad guy in a James Bond movie..."
comments:- It's interesting to think that flash tiering and caching might
extend the life of tape libraries. But in the distant future (2020 timescale) I
expect that anyone still using tape cartridges might find when they open them -
they have archive SSDs inside emulating the tape media. It was already done
long ago for floppy drives. But even
SSDs become EOL and cause
problems for those trying to support legacy systems.
university researchers compare SSD and tape archives
November 1, 2011 - a recent white paper -
Using Storage Class
Memory for Archives with DAWN, a Durable Array of Wimpy Nodes (pdf) -
written by academics at University of California, Santa Cruz and Stanford
University - and published under the auspices of the Storage Systems Research Center
compares the long term cost and reliability of solid state archival storage and
traditional media - such as tape.
investigation has shown that storage class memories have many characteristics
favorable to digital archiving. Despite this, more investigation in several
areas is needed in order to fully understand the tradeoffs and feasibility of a
storage class memory approach." ...read the article
Is there a Future for Tape Backup? - revisited in a roundabout
Editor:- October 25, 2011 -
there a Future for Tape Backup? is an interesting review of this subject
from Steven Golden from the perspective of what he calls a "programmer"
oriented blog called Code and Butter
blogs - which I just discovered for the first time - are well thought out and
neatly formatted too. If you ever want to
start your own
WordPress blog - you can learn from his pages. It's lucky for me that
standards for web pages were a lot lower when I got started.
SEPATON article on tape dinosaurs
30, 2010 - Jon Mills, Director of European operations at SEPATON recently
published an article -
- the T Rex of backup? - which provides anthropological comparisons between
tape libraries and these
I guess it takes one soon-to-be-extinct dinosoar to
recognize another. My own view is that
hard disk based backup will
eventually be replaced by solid
state backup. So enjoy chewing the spinning magnetic leaves while they
Overland launches tape library patent suit
August 20, 2010 - Overland
Storage announced it is suing BDT AG
- for alledged
of tape library related patents.
"We owe it to our
shareholders and our customers to protect the technology investments we have
made throughout the years," said Eric Kelly, President and CEO of Overland
Storage. "We believe our technologies are one of the driving forces behind
the demand for tape storage solutions today. Our patented technologies allow
us and others to bring to market products and solutions that are more reliable,
more secure and more efficient."
Tape library market
revenue has halved in the
past 10 years.
(2000 tape library revenue was $2 billion according to
Freeman Reports .) But
that strengthens the case for defending each remaining slice and crumb.
New fitness service for old tape libraries
July 12, 2010 - Crossroads
a new service for users of tape
overview analysis service provides comprehensive analytics on the health,
performance and utilization of tape libraries and helps users identify the
any sources of inefficiencies which can otherwise lead to backups
exceeding allocated time windows.
"Rather than tossing out
perfectly good media, storage administrators can avoid unnecessary costs and
headaches by viewing the precise status and health of their environment,"
said Elaine Pleshek, senior product manager at Crossroads Systems. "It's a
service that pays for itself. By gaining a reliable tool that continually
diagnoses operational backup errors, organizations can experience impressive
See also:- Storage
Re tape's protracted demise
Editor:- June 16, 2010 -
How tape dies is
the latest blog from StorageMojo, Robin Harris.
Tape market's body is still
twitching - so it's not technically a corpse (yet) - but the life signs are
Overland expands LTO-5 support
Editor:- April 21,
2010 - April 21, 2010 - Overland Storage
expanded support for LTO-5
(available from May 1, 2010) across its entire line of NEO Series products -
which offer backup
storage capacity up to 76TB and support for
StorageSearch.com asks - Could TB HDDs be given away free?
June 10, 2010 - a new article published today on StorageSearch.com asks -
Could terabyte hard
drives ever be given away free?
I think could that be a really
good business strategy to prolong the life of the
HDD market beyond
you thought the outlook was shaky for the tape market... ...read the article
reaching for the petabyte SSD
Editor:- March 16,
2010 - previewing the final chapters in the long running
SSD vs HDD wars -
published an industry changing new article -
SSDs - reaching for
What will the PB SSD look like? When will it appear?
What technology problems do
SSD designers have to
solve to get there? What about the
that the PB SSD fits into? How much electrical power will it consume? And...
you may be curious - how much will it cost?
All these questions and
more - are discussed and answered in this article which - I anticipate -
will inspire product managers and company founders to create completely new
types of SSDs. ...read
New Integrity Tool for Old Tape Archives
January 18, 2010 - Crossroads
details of ArchiveVerify - a new monitoring option for its
that safeguards the future readability of data
backed up on
"In our experience, the Achilles' heel of a data recovery
strategy is often the uncertainty of the data's readability, and this single
point of failure can render then entire restore process useless," adds
Bernd Krieger, Managing Director, at Crossroads Europe.
Editor's comments:- Crossroads was originally a specialist in
the SAN router business.
In recent years it has done a lot of work in the area of
I've read lots of their whitepapers which describe their research and products
addressing data integrity. Although there has been a historic trend for users
to migrate away from
tape to disk backup - many super users of huge
tape libraries (with the
biggest archives) will be the last to migrate away - due to logistics and cost.
It's those kind of users who can benefit most from automated tools or services
which increase the data integrity they achieve and cut down media waste and
$9 million Funding Round for flash SSD Enabled SAN Backup
November 18, 2009 - Axxana
announced it has
secured $9 million Series B
investment led by Carmel Ventures.
Axxana's existing investors, Gemini
Israel Funds and the serial entrepreneur
also participated in the round.
The funds will be used to accelerate
the adoption of The Phoenix System - the first "Black Box" Enterprise
Data Recorder which was demonstrated at EMC
World in May 2009.
"Axxana's EDR brings a disruptive solution that is well poised
to transform the entire storage replication market and create a whole new
category within it," said Ronen Nir, Partner at Carmel Ventures. "We
are impressed with Axxana's strong founding team and their achievements so far,
including impressive endorsement by leading storage vendors worldwide."
Editor's comments:- Axxana's solution is a lossless data
recovery system which sits on the
SAN and records data into a
SSD-enabled, locally situated, data survival box. Although Axxana talks
about it "complementing" other types of data protection - such as
offsite / online backup
my gut feel is that if the product shows itself to be usable and
reliable in a wide
range of environments - it will set a new standard for
backup which will
supercede anything possible with rotating
disk backup systems or
clearest explanation is in
BakBone Wakes Up to Disk Backup
16, 2009 -
it will change its focus from traditional
tape-based data protection
solutions to disk-based
technology with new products to be launched soon.
Claims Fastest Deduped Backup|
|Editor:- June 1, 2009 - FalconStor Software
that it now delivers the fastest
time in the industry.
Using a 100TB test bed connected to a single cluster of 2
FalconStor VTL nodes the total time to backup and deduplicate data was under 14
hours, yielding an average of 2GB/s per second.
Physical tape production can
be achieved directly through 4Gbps
Fibre Channel links by
exporting tapes from FalconStor VTL to the physical
tape library without using
a separate media server. All hardware components used for the performance test
are commonly available standard parts, including standard
Linux-based servers and
claims are often hostage to editor research. We've certainly run stories about
faster backup and restores before - but they didn't include dedupe. Let's see
if this one passes the test of reader scrutiny.
Tandberg's Tape Bust
Editor:- April 27, 2009 - Tandberg Data has
filed for bankruptcy and today announced details of its
There's no surprise here. The current recession has merely
brought forward an inevitable event. Although Tandberg had acquired and
licensed various disk backup
technologies it remained culturally wedded to
chronicled the transition of the backup market
from tape to hard disk
and in some ways it's
what's been happening in the hard disk market versus flash SSD space. But the
SSD market is more complicated - because whereas
slow cheap SSDs replace
hard drives, fast
expensive SSDs replace server CPUs.
hard drives, the
highest capacity tape
libraries will remain spinning the longest. Nothing stays the same in the
storage market for
Looking ahead at the next 10 years SSDs will replace hard drives in enterprise
backup systems too.
But let's get back to today's news from Tandberg
Data, whose CEO, Pat Clarke, said - "The operations of the Tandberg Data
subsidiaries will continue to operate in this new structure, with a much reduced
debt burden. The difficult steps we are taking now will enable us to build a
company that can be successful in providing data protection solutions and
support to our valued customers, suppliers, and business partners for a long
time to come"
Trawling back through
gone-away / bust
storage companies list (where the score now stands at 490 BTW) a search
for "Tandberg" reveals it had previously acquired these companies:-
Computer Design Group.
Spectra Dims Sun's Lights at NASA Ames
April 20, 2009 - Spectra
that it has ousted Sun
in a big tape library
installation - following a 9 month evaluation.
tape libraries which together offer approximately 20,000 data storage
slots and up to 32 petabytes of storage capacity, with data compression.
replacing multiple, legacy Sun/STK
silos with Spectra Logic technology,
NASA Ames has
freed more than 1,400 square feet of valuable data center floor space.
Editor's comments:- according to Sun's website, its own
suggested replacement for the 9310 is the
Modular Library. So I guess that's the product (or the service offering)
which Spectra beat in this case.
Sun Proposes Standardizing Tape Storage Encryption
Santa Clara, CA -
February 17, 2009 - Sun Microsystems today announced an open source
initiative for removable storage encryption in Solaris environments.
is based on the key manager which Sun already uses in some of its
Tape Libraries. See
also:- Storage Security
New VTL Emulates 256 Mainframe Tape Drives
MA - August 11, 2008- Today, Bus-Tech, Inc. announced the introduction
of the Mainframe Data Library model 6000.
The new model boasts of
throughput in excess of 1 gigabyte per second, 4Gbps FICON support, 1,536
emulated tape transports and enhanced availability features. The MDL-6000
features from 3 to 6 independent emulation nodes; each of which support two
FICON channel adapters and emulate up to 256 mainframe tape drives.
Sun Launches Terabyte Tape Drive
CLARA, CA - July 14, 2008 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced
imminent availability of its first terabyte tape drive.
tape drive offers 1TB of native storage capacity on a single cartridge with
120MB/sec throughput. It uses the same physical tape drive for FICON and
Fibre Channel, allowing
users to switch media between SAN
and mainframe environments. The new drive supports WORM capability and
encryption. Pricing starts at $37,000.
1U StorageLoader LTO Aims at Entry Level Tape Backup
Norway - June 2, 2008 - Tandberg Data today announced the availability
of its StorageLoader LTO.
tape library offers
compressed storage capacities up to 12TB and transfer rates up to 576GB/hr and
is available with LVD SCSI
or SAS connectivity.
The StorageLoader has 2x 4-slot removable magazines. ESP for the
StorageLoader LTO-4 HH is $4,499.
Spectra Libraries will Log Tape Health Metrics
ORLANDO, FL - April 8, 2008 - Spectra Logic announced details of its
soon to be released new Media Lifecycle Management software for its tape
MLM will reduce backup failures by tracking
more than 30 pieces of information about individual LTO tapes and logging this
on on the tape's built in flash chip. Information such as: born-on date, number
of reads and writes, error rate, media quality, date of last access, application
usage, encryption information, cleaning log and remaining capacity are tracked.
MLM and BlueScale are compatible with all major
Editor's comments:- already past the decline and now in
the fall years of the tape
library market it looks like customers will get all kinds of useful
information and services which they probably would have liked to have before.
This sounds similar in concept to the
logs in hard disks
Fujifilm Launches Wireless Backup Tape Tracker
N.Y. - March 26, 2008 - Fujifilm today announced the immediate
availability of the Fujifilm Tape Tracker, a wireless tool to help data
managers increase security of data by tracking in real-time the location and
status of sensitive removable media cartridges while in transit.
The Fujifilm Tape Tracker (patents pending) is designed within a 0.5" tape
cartridge format, enabling it to fit snugly and discreetly inside nearly any
tape media case. The Fujifind application uses the information, tracking,
geo-fencing and notification capability of SC-Integrity's
InTransit monitoring solution.
"The tremendous feedback we received from customers when we
introduced this concept last year made clear - there is a significant desire to
maintain visibility and control over removable media during shipment from one
location to another," said Daniel Greenberg at Fujifilm Recording Media. "The
ability of tape to store
large quantities of data in a cost effective, energy efficient, removable format
make it a preferred medium to backup and archive critical business data. The
Tape Tracker gives power back to the data managers to maintain a chain of
custody for these assets as they move between data center backup, vault or
disaster recovery destinations."
Expansion Modules Push Tape Library
Past 2 Petabytes
Calif - February 20, 2008 - Qualstar Corp today announced that the MEM
ll (Memory Expansion Module), is now available on its popular XLS-812300 tape
Each MEM ll delivers 535 tape storage slots in just 5.3
square feet of floor space. Using LTO 4 tape technology with typical
compression, a single MEM ll holds 856 terabytes, one of the highest storage
densities in the industry. One or two MEM ll's can be added to each XLS-812300
Library System, raising its total capacity to 1,365 slots, or 2.2 petabytes of
XLS-812300 libraries hold up to 12 LTO 4
tape drives, delivering
data throughput rates of over 5 terabytes per hour to meet ever-narrowing backup
windows. Adding capacity or drives is readily accomplished in the field with
minimal interruption to on-going operations. The MEM ll can be intermixed with
the XLS-812300 Expansion Pods to provide granular solutions to meet a broad
range of data protection and archival storage growth requirements. ...Qualstar profile,
Tape Libraries &
|tape library history:- see this