SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

What’s Wrong with Tape?

Last week I briefly attended the Tape Summit at IP Expo.  Unfortunately due to other commitments during the day I was only able to join the round-table.  To be fair this was probably the part of the day I most wanted to attend – hearing everyone’s opinion generates much more interest than listening to canned presentations.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know most of the attendees around the table, however it was clear that there were representatives from the tape industry including LTO consortium members and of course our very own Chris Mellor.  A number of things struck me during the conversation.

The Tape Industry is In Denial – Yes it’s true.  The tape industry can’t understand why end users don’t want to use their products.  There are plenty of arguments around tape being cheaper, easier, having better longevity and so on.  But these don’t resonate with end users who don’t want to use tape when there are alternatives.

Tape Still Has a Place - There’s nothing wrong with tape.  It’s a well-proven, reliable long-term data storage medium that continues to evolve.  Admittedly it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution but that doesn’t matter.  Capacities and throughput continue to rise ahead of the capabilities of individual disk drives.

Usability is all Wrong – Almost all of our tape usage today is through proprietary formats.  For a non-portable medium like disk, proprietary formats don’t matter.  The common interface of NFS, Fibre Channel, CIFS or some other format makes the data accessible.  However tape is inherently a portable media format and so the layout of data on tape itself should be  self describing and independent.

Backup Software Vendors are Holding us Back – Yes, by having proprietary formats used to store data on tape that effectively represents the *same* content i.e. files – tape is losing ground to disk.  Tape requires significant effort to migrate from one media format to another.  Disk systems are much more flexible – think how easy it is to move a backup disk storage device from one place to another compared with moving the contents of a tape to a new one.

So how do we fix things?  The problem is how to correct the usability issue.  We need to be able to move data around between media (e.g. tape to tape & tape to disk) without having to use the backup or archive platform on which the data was created.  Yes, the owning platform needs to know about the change in location if it will continue to own it, but we shouldn’t be restricted to storing data on that software platform if we don’t want it there.  Part of this solution therefore means having decent standards – standards for storing backup objects and archive objects that work cross-vendor and cross-platform.  It’s something that perhaps SNIA should be doing.

We do have one independent format and that’s Linear Tape File System – LTFS.  LTFS seems like a great idea.  It creates a self-defining format for data on tape, embedding the data and the index together.  In this way, data can be read by any platform that simply scans the tape.  Using LTFS wouldn’t stop vendors storing the data within files in their own format, but it would at least give us a fighting chance at consistency.

So, end users, tape manufacturers, lobby the backup software manufacturers – some of which are the *same* company (e.g. IBM) and start creating consistent open formats for tape storage and users might start to think that tape was worthwhile and so there might be longevity in your products after all.

Read the original blog entry...

Latest Stories
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
Concerns about security, downtime and latency, budgets, and general unfamiliarity with cloud technologies continue to create hesitation for many organizations that truly need to be developing a cloud strategy. Hybrid cloud solutions are helping to elevate those concerns by enabling the combination or orchestration of two or more platforms, including on-premise infrastructure, private clouds and/or third-party, public cloud services. This gives organizations more comfort to begin their digital tr...
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions.
Keeping an application running at scale can be a daunting task. When do you need to add more capacity? Larger databases? Additional servers? These questions get harder as the complexity of your application grows. Microservice based architectures and cloud-based dynamic infrastructures are technologies that help you keep your application running with high availability, even during times of extreme scaling. But real cloud success, at scale, requires much more than a basic lift-and-shift migrati...
David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi, the hot cloud storage company that delivers fast, low-cost, and reliable cloud storage. Prior to Wasabi, David co-founded Carbonite, one of the world's leading cloud backup companies. A successful tech entrepreneur for more than 30 years, David got his start at ARP Instruments, a manufacturer of synthesizers for rock bands, where he worked with leading musicians of the day like Stevie Wonder, Pete Townsend of The Who, and Led Zeppelin. David has ...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Addteq is a leader in providing business solutions to Enterprise clients. Addteq has been in the business for more than 10 years. Through the use of DevOps automation, Addteq strives on creating innovative solutions to solve business processes. Clients depend on Addteq to modernize the software delivery process by providing Atlassian solutions, create custom add-ons, conduct training, offer hosting, perform DevOps services, and provide overall support services.
Contino is a global technical consultancy that helps highly-regulated enterprises transform faster, modernizing their way of working through DevOps and cloud computing. They focus on building capability and assisting our clients to in-source strategic technology capability so they get to market quickly and build their own innovation engine.
When applications are hosted on servers, they produce immense quantities of logging data. Quality engineers should verify that apps are producing log data that is existent, correct, consumable, and complete. Otherwise, apps in production are not easily monitored, have issues that are difficult to detect, and cannot be corrected quickly. Tom Chavez presents the four steps that quality engineers should include in every test plan for apps that produce log output or other machine data. Learn the ste...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...