Jonathan Schwartz has an interesting post up right now that calculates the relative transfer power of Internet networks vs. a sailboat. The sailboat wins.
“Now you understand why tape based storage has such a lasting appeal to so many enterprises recording, compiling, transporting or just plain archiving, very large quantities of data. From video surveillance to trading data. Standard tapes are 500GB each (currently), and fit nicely into cardboard boxes with overnight express labels[...]tape isn’t perfect for a lot of applications (near line storage, eg) – but it plays a prominent role in some remarkably cutting edge high performance computing applications, along with social networking and content aggregation sites (who think nothing of gathering terabytes of data every day) – tape archive isn’t just for banks or telcos running mainframes (although we’re good there, too).”
Er…we’re thinking maybe ixnay on the “cardboard box with overnight express labels” part, but Sun incidentally has at least one large customer announced to back this up.
Meanwhile, Schwartz’s commenters also raise some good counterpoints on the post. One supporting commenter also linked to an article about Jim Gray, founder of the Terraserver project and perhaps the biggest proponent of station-wagon data migration. Unless, of course, it’s Google, which is also biting the bandwidth bullet for some users in heavy-duty academic research.