Closing the Data Centre-Tape-Cloud Gap

If you did not have to use tape, you probably wouldn’t.  Tape fills a gap that up until recently disk storage could not.

Tape was created for two main reasons.  The first was for overflow storage. Data volumes exceeded what HDD’s could store and the need for free available disk space forced our hand to use tape.  The second reason was as a transport mechanism.  Tape was used as a transport mechanism to share or transport data from one place to another or from one company to another.

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Today, the two main reasons for the original use of tape are now under direct attack by technology advances that simply make tape less relevant.  The cloud is getting closer to the data centre and in many cases the cloud is in fact becoming the data centre.  Add to that, the increasing bandwidth of the internet and new satellite constellations coming on line that will increase the speed and availability of data transfer and you can see the end of the “Tape as a transport” tag line waning. Closing the geographical distance between data centre and cloud and increasing the speed of transfer means that tape as a transport is slowly losing its competitive advantage. If a company could share, retrieve, or move data from one place or company to another with the click of a mouse, it is safe to say that they would.  The cloud now offers unparalleled transport, replication, and sharing and also makes tape both less useful and far more painful.

In addition, the cloud from AWS, Google, and Azure is effectively an infinite storage container.  If every company that had overflow storage or archiving needs could access disk based storage, then they would – there will be some hardcore guy’s out there who would say – “I would still use tape”, but there would be only a few of them, and with each passing month there would be even less of them. 

So what is tape to do?  It will do its best to keep increasing its capacity and speed, but at the end of the day, technology that no one wants to use but simply is forced to use because of lack of choice is always doomed and ripe for disruption.   Keep an eye on our friends at Seagate Technology as they work on the edge to help close this gap with us.

To read more on the benefits of migrating data from tape to the cloud, please click here.

Save Money, Move Faster: An Explor & Tape Ark Seismic Data Management Event

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A big thank you to everyone who attended our “Save Money, Move Faster: An Explor & Tape Ark Seismic Data Management event” in Calgary last week. It was incredible to meet you all and discuss your O&G cloud journeys together in such a great forum and Tape Ark Director of Sales Kyle Evans was blown away by The Calgary Petroleum Club - such an impressive venue. A big shout out to our co-hosts Allan Chatenay and Jonathan Banyard from Explor who made the event happen.
#DataManagement #TapeToCloud #LiberateData #SeismicData#SeismicDataInnovation

Are you interested in learning how to architect & build a data lake solution?

Join us at the latest AWS Learning Series — Harnessing the Power of Data where Tape Ark will be contributing to the Perth event as an Amazon Web Services Technology Partner. These events are an awesome opportunity to learn more about how AWS (and Tape Ark) can assist you in harnessing the power and value of your data. Come and say hi to Guy C. Holmes and Kyle Evans to find out more.

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dataVedik breathe new life into O&G Well Data with the application of AI and Machine Learning

dataVedik breathe new life into O&G Well Data with the application of AI and Machine Learning

A great example of how technological collaboration between Tape Ark and dataVedik can liberate large volumes of previously inaccessible exploration data to the public cloud (in this case well log data) and then through the application of dataVedik’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies empower O&G organisations to increase operational efficiencies and  reduce overall costs.

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Saving the World’s Second Largest Collection of Data - DAMA Sydney

Saving the World’s Second Largest Collection of Data - DAMA Sydney

Tape Ark Founder and CEO Guy Holmes is honoured to have been invited to address the Australian Data Management Association (DAMA) Sydney Chapter next Tuesday 8th May and will be presenting a talk entitled “Saving the World’s Second Largest Collection of Data”. 

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The Podcasts That Helped Launch Tape Ark

In June 2017, my article “My New Digital Classroom” was published in the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysics Magazine entitled “Preview”.

I have found a ton of inspiration in the podcasts that I have been listening to.  In fact, I have taken both guidance and inspiration from several of the podcasts that I listen to to help me create my new start-up Tape Ark. I listen to numerous podcasts to keep me up to speed on developments in the oil and gas and technology industries as well as for just entertainment. 

If you don’t know what a podcast is here is the Wikipedia definition: ‘A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio files which a user can subscribe to so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer, mobile application, or portable media player’. The name came from the combination of the words iPod and broadcast.

Since I started listening to podcasts, my taste in content has evolved, and of course fellow podcast listeners (some of which I turned on to podcasts) started to recommend new ones to me.

I thought I would offer an update on my recommendations for people working in oil and gas, technology, and data management.

My previous recommendation plus a few new ones include:

Entrepreneurial and Start Up Scene

"How I Built This" hosted by Guy Raz @guyraz from NPR radio is focussed on innovators and entrepreneurs.  This is an absolute favorite of mine.  It covers companies like Airbnb, Instagram, and Spankz, how they started, and the drive and determination of the founders.

"Start Up" from Gimlet media is a series about what it’s really like to start a business.

"The Pitch" – Hosted by Josh Muccio @joshmuccio I am a massive fan of this one. This one is also produced by the team at Gimlet Media.  If you have ever tried to raise capital, or are thinking about doing it.  The show has a panel of guests including Jilian Manus @ManusJillian of Structure Capital @structureVC and Phil Nadell @NadelPhil  of Forefront Venture Partners This one is a must listen.

Technology, Scalability, and General Awareness of Where Industries are going

The ‘Ted Radio Hour’, which is a choice TED talk mixed with in depth interviews from the speakers who gave the talk put out by NPR. The is also hosted by Guy Raz @guyraz .

The "AWS podcast" (Amazon Web Services), which details all of the new developments in cloud based computing, storage, etc. on the Amazon platform.

"Masters of Scale" – Hosted by Reid Hoffman @reidhoffman (Founder of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock).  Great commentary on how to scale a business.  This show rocks.


The Society of Exploration Geophysics has a podcast called “Seismic Soundoff” hosted by Andrew Geary.  A series of in depth conversations in applied geophysics. 

The “Geology Flannelcast” made by three grad students who purportedly ‘discuss geology topics that no one else dares to touch’. It just so happens that the podcast is one that I don’t dare to touch either. But if you like soil analysis and Milankovitch cycles, this one may be for you.

General Entertainment

If you are not in a working mood, try these great entertaining podcasts:

S Town”  - A reporter investigates a supposed murder in Alabama, and open the doors to an incredible story where murder is far from what you need to worry about.  Written and Narrated by @BriHReed.

Here’s The Thing” hosted by Alec Baldwin @AlecBaldwin bring you into the lives of artists, performers and policy makers.  Alec is a great interviewer.

Heavyweight” – A brief window into the lives of common people, with uncommon humor, Jonathan Goldstein @J_Goldstein

I highly recommend subscribing to a few podcasts and giving them a try. Anyone who has a commute to the office of more than 15 minutes can use that time to learn about a new topic in an entertaining format that takes no effort at all to consume.

Let me know if you pick any of these podcasts up.  I would love feedback on your favorites as well.



Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading. 

Open Standard Petroleum Data Lake?

For as long as I have been in the industry there has been a longstanding approach to data management that typically involves importing and storing data into a proprietary system that has punitive contract termination clauses. These costs make it very difficult to move from one system to the next.  In many cases, oil and gas companies felt held to ransom if they wanted their data back, which was often stored in an internal format that only the provider could unravel.  But if the oil company wanted the data back or wanted to move to a new system, the costs of doing so and getting the data back in a usable format was often prohibitive.

In my view, if you supply a great product or service, and take care of your customers, then you should never fear customers moving.  If customers decide to move, then either you are not doing your job well enough, or someone has out innovated you.  By always keeping the clients desires and wants in mind, you should be able to stay on that innovation curve and address your client’s needs.

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In that vein, we have created an open standard petroleum data lake (ODPL) where oil and gas data can be archived, and you can attach your interface of choice to it (essentially any ARCGIS based data management system).  In this way, if you want to change your interface or access tools, you never need to move your data – just change the application.  The data sits in Amazon Web Services cloud storage, using an industry standard PPDM data model, and allows clients to attach their chosen application to it without ever moving the data again.

See our web pages in cloud consulting and OPDL for further details. Keen to hear feedback on the concept of a centralised, standardised, and globally accessible data lake.  If you are interested in a white paper on the OPDL, click the link to request some details.

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