Tape Ark’s mission was set from day one: to liberate the largest collections of data on the planet for use with modern cloud technology including machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable new discoveries from legacy data. It was always our belief that some of the most important discoveries will be made from using data that has been locked on tapes from the previous century. After all, the basis for generating predictive analytics is reliant upon historical context. Using data from the past helps us train our models, look for trends, and helps us build new models that are far more robust and take into account the edge cases that allow the models to be better prepared for outliers.

When it comes to the liberation of valuable assets that help us make predictions for the future, it is data such as medical research and scientific studies that comes to mind. It is the type of data that can contain millions of measurements across varying populations that is often difficult, if not impossible, to collect again.  These types of data assets are often critical to the future of mankind but in many cases have been long forgotten on aging backup tapes.

To many, Tape Ark’s mission seemed a unreasonable and far-fetched, but we have now proven time and time again that real value lays within our legacy data.  Some of the examples of Tape Ark’s work include state government health data, critical subsea information about water depths, a massive collection of satellite images for an entire continent, and music and sports videos of some of history’s most memorable events.  And now Tape Ark has the opportunity do not only perform the largest tape ingest ever done on the planet, but we also get to work on a globally important scientific endeavor related to weather and global warming.

In April 2021, the UK Met Office awarded a multi million-pound agreement with Microsoft, part of the £1.2 bn committed by the Government to the Met Office, for the provision of a world leading supercomputing capability that will take weather and climate forecasting to the next level and help the UK stay safe and thrive. This new super-computing service is expected to be the world’s most advanced dedicated to weather and climate. The data it generates will be used to provide more accurate warnings of severe weather, helping to build resilience and protect the UK population, businesses and infrastructure from the impacts of increasingly extreme storms, floods and snow.

Microsoft has in turn put in place an agreement with Tape Ark to perform mass tape to cloud ingest of the tape collection generated by the UK Met Office over the last several decades. The project is considered the largest tape to cloud ingest project ever undertaken with over 220 Petabytes of data to be moved from tape into Microsoft Azure.

“We are extremely pleased to work with Microsoft on this project as we continue to move towards our greater purpose of liberating the most valuable data collections on the planet, so that new discoveries can be made. To be doing this for projects related to climate change and global warming has given the whole team at Tape Ark a real sense of purpose,” said Guy Holmes, Founder and CEO of Tape Ark.

This massive tape ingest project is one of several currently being undertaken by Tape Ark around the world as Tape Ark works with some of the largest brand names on the planet to make the most of their historical content.