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Object storage and tape

This topic was created by Chris Mellor 1 .

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Object storage and tape

HDS is the only object storage supplier I can find that can move its objects to tape for off-line vaulting. Is it realistic for object storage suppliers to say they don't need tape?

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Silver badge

Re: Object storage and tape

My Memorex silo stores whatever I ask it to store, however I ask it to store it.

Online, near line, off line ... it's all good.

I haven't lost anything, in nearly 40 years of saving stuff to magtape. I can't say the same for HDDs or optical media.

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Re: Object storage and tape

Tape 'is' ok for long life isn't it.

Chris.

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Its too good for tape?

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Go

Tape will never disappear ...

(disclaimer: I work for Amplidata, I might be biassed)

... but the use cases continue to become thinner:

While tape was traditionally the medium to go for when archiving data, more and more companies are seeking to archive to disk.

Tape is probably the cheapest medium to archive data too, but also the slowest. As a result, tape archives are usually dead archives. By building disk-based archives, with much better data access speeds, companies can re-activate their archives into rich repositories of resources. (turn your archive into a profit center)

For this purpose, object storage is becoming a popular paradigm: object storage enables companies to deploy applications directly on top of the storage, with no file systems in between.

Some of the latest object storage systems have a cost per GB (including infrastructure, management & power) that comes close to the cost of tape, which makes tape archives obsolete. That said, there several products on the market (e.g. QStar) that enable companies to move data off their object storage disk archive to tape.

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Pint

Re: Tape will never disappear ...

Archive to disk? Off site?

I mean unless you are suggsting that the archive disks stay on site...which would be silly wouldn't it? BCS/DR and all that jazz.

Also spare a thought for the courier! All those disks add up to quite a weight...

Pint - coz well frankly I have a thirst on.

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Amplidata costs

Is there any public info available about Amplldata cost vs tape?

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Re: Amplidata costs

I don't have anything at hand, but let me work on something and get it to you before the end of the week!

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Object stores to tape...Integrated or 3rd Party

In my experience, many of the object stores don't use their integrated interface to move to tape. Instead there are 3rd party applications that are relied upon to extend the object store to tape. This is where the archive on tape becomes active and directly accessible to the object store. Many vendors resell one of these applications as their way to extend to tape vs integrating the capability directly into an integrated interface on the primary object store. All the products are tested and integrated together so work smoothly...just a matter of not letting the complete solution cost get too high so the value proposition of tape as cost effective on the CapEx side is still realized in addition to the long term savings on power efficiency and storage density.

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Disk archives at the cost of tape

Chris,

Providing actual cost per GB numbers would probably be the easiest way to demonstrate how close disk archives can come to the cost per GB for tape archives. Unfortunately we cannot just throw our list prices in the open. So although we do not believe tape will disappear and we are making a case for different active archive architectures, here is an attempt to explain why and how disk archives can be more attractive than tape archives from a TCO point of view.

An accurate TCO analysis of a complete HSM tape solution should take into account the servers (MetaData HA servers, Data Movers, NFS/CIFS gateways), the Fibre Channel redundant switches, FC tier 1 disk cache, etc. Add to this, the cost of HSM software licenses at $200-500/TB, and you eliminate most of the cost benefit of tape when compared to an AmpliStor solution. For an accurate non-HSM TCO, one needs to include the cost of backup or archive software, backup servers, etc., which again are overall as or more expensive than tape libraries. Also, tape library costs are only part of the whole, and the Active Archive Alliance’s (AAA) position that "disk is 15 times more costly than tape and uses 200 times more energy" for active archive is based on old and incomplete information: the AAA uses 5+ year old papers (Clipper Group), out of date disk pricing, and projects tape costs using the largest libraries only.

It is true that for the largest tape libraries, say over 10PB, the cost for two copies on tape is in the $200-300/TB range, uncompressed. If the data compresses, they are still untouchable. And, if they have already paid for the large libraries, then they will just point to the media cost, which is more like $50/TB. But for the majority of installed libraries in both backup and active archive, these libraries will cost from $450 to $800/TB for two copies across two libraries in separate datacenters. AmpliStor can go well below that cost. Any enterprise facing replacement of old tape libraries and renewing costly archive or HSM software licenses, will find the AmpliStor value proposition compelling.

At Amplidata we are merging the disk-based object store and eliminating at least a majority of the cost for libraries and software licensing for the tape tier, assuming a geo-spread configuration. Other less durable storage can't say that, as users need to keep the full two copies on tape (if they have a DR strategy). This is exactly what resonates with our customers: eliminating the need for tape or replicated high-end disk systems.

So while we don’t advocate moving away from tape altogether, our customers could do so. Our exact messaging on this is: “The AmpliStor system delivers such high levels of data durability (ten 9s, fifteen 9s – or beyond) that it can actually consolidate multiple existing tiers of storage. Typically customers deploy these multiple tiers to provide assurance for data durability: tier 1 (disk) + tier 2 (disk), or tier 2 (disk) + tier 3 (tape), or multiple copies on tape. With AmpliStor, a single instance of data provides much higher durability, thereby leading to tremendous savings on both capital and operational costs. AmpliStor can even come close to the TCO of two copies on tape, while providing the convenience, management ease and accessibility of disk, along with scalable, multi-gigabyte throughput.”

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Economics of archive storage very different for small data sets vs medium to large data sets

In the Active Archive Alliance and in wide varieties of tape market research from 2010 and 2011, it is pretty clear that when a customer has upwards of about 80TB of data to archive (not backup - archive data), tape (including the software and hardware needed to move data to tape) is less expensive than disk. The economies of scale spread the cost signficantly more to the advantage of tape as scale goes into hundreds of terabytes and into the petabytes. For less than 80TB - use disk for short term archive.

If the data set is larger than 80TB, or if data needs to be stored on appropriate medium for long-term storage, power efficient storage, offline and not susceptible to corruption, etc... - then tape is the right medium.

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