Like many in the storage industry, I keep wanting to declare tape is dead, or at least on its last legs, when it comes to data protection. I surely thought the triple whammy of emerging technologies like deduplication, asynchronous replication and removable disk cartridges were going to finally drive the nail through the heart of tape.
I couldn’t be more wrong. Last week, I had an insightful conversation with the president of a records management firm based in New Jersey which has, for years, serviced high-end customers like financial services and pharmaceutical firms in the Northeast. They also anticipated more of their clients replicating data to them and, for years, reserved space on their floor for disk for this purpose. Instead, they are installing more racks to hold tape and don’t foresee disk happening at all or not nearly to the scope they foresaw years ago.
They are finding that even though clients want or do replicate data, they also find users on the high end of the spectrum want control of the data in its useable format. Once replicated, users spin it off to tape and store it long term with them for long term archival and data recovery under potentially catastropic circumstances. They want the records management company to know as little about the data they are sending them as possible, and they want the data stored in a format inaccessable to anyone but the user. This is a trend that bears watching in the tape market for even as disk cartridge, deduplication and replication technologies take off, new reasons to keep data on tape are emerging.