Today's Tape is Not Dead, But Yesterday's Tape Certainly Is

What the release of the new LTO-8 Tape drive really means.

As time has gone on, the life span of new technology (including tape drives) has shrunken.

Technology that one used to buy and use for 10 years, is now only lasting 2 years before being superseded and made redundant by newer, faster and “better” technology. Tape drives and tape media are no different.

For those of you jumping up and down with excitement about the release of the new LTO-8 tape drive (yes – all three of you), don’t get too carried away. While the drive does offer increased capacity and speed, and whatever else the manufacturers want you to believe, it also marks the end of yet another generation of your backup data. Tape drive manufacturers used to make an attempt to have backward read compatibility for at least 2 generations of tape drive, but not so with the LTO8, which only has 1 generation read compatibility.

So – if you have LTO-6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 tapes, add them to your list of dead and inaccessible media if you upgrade to LTO-8 or be sure to factor in the costs of having additional and redundant legacy drives on standby just in case. 

Some companies offer data migration services from older LTO media to newer LTO media, but it isn’t free, it’s expensive and it sure as hell was never factored into the TCO calculations they shared with you when you bought your first tape drive.

As a result of the decreasing lifespan of tape technology the volume of “archive” or “legacy” data in storage is increasing at an alarming rate. The time frame between the data being active and accessible on current tape technology to it then becoming vulnerable and possibly unreadable on a superseded technology is shrinking. Archive data used to be data that was 10 years old, it is now 2 years or less in the tape world.

There is a solution to this tape life (death) cycle - the Cloud. Yes – LTO-8 has its place, but if you really want to solve your legacy backup tape and hardware issues, then I suggest you review the material here.

#NoMoreTape #TapeIsDead #TapeZombies