Can you name the oldest kind of storage medium that’s still commonly in use today? According to Storage Newsletter, it’s magnetic tape, a vintage technology that was invented in the 1920s to record sound. One of the reasons that so many companies still store data on tape is simply because it’s cheap and reliable. Kept under the right conditions, magnetic tapes can last for decades. Some companies still have thousands of reels with backup and archive data that they may have generated ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. Even though this sort of storage may have saved companies money once, it’s bound to be costing them money today.
Magnetic Tape Storage Issues
It’s hard to argue that whoever invented magnetic tape came up with a durable and long-lived technology that has survived for almost a century. However, vast inventories of old tapes cause problems for clients that should be solved by newer technology today.
These are some of the headaches associated with magnetic tape storage:
- Companies need to store tapes under carefully controlled environmental conditions.
- Businesses need to keep aging tape drives functional and online in case they are needed.
- Reels of tape must be accessible to these drives.
- Using magnetic tape to restore data or pull archives usually requires manual effort and precious time.
Modern Solutions for Legacy Tape Storage Issues
It’s easiest to explain how to consolidate and store legacy tapes by using an example from one of our clients. This company had over 15,000 tapes in their inventory. Furthermore, they had stored this large stockpile at ten different sites. Within these sites, libraries contained tapes of different ages, connection types, technology, and vendors.
The client had some major concerns about their old way of doing things. These included:
- Since tapes had to get stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions, tapes from different vendors or of different types also had to be stored in various kinds of environments. These multiple environments needed complex and costly maintenance.
- Besides storage expenses, usage costs created a strain on service level agreements and the IT staff. Using the tapes required manual effort and took valuable time away from employees.
We worked with our client to develop architecture for a system that would help them import data from the tapes into a NetBackup Appliance master server domain and then duplicate the data to disk storage units. This system can transform storage cabinets full of tapes into compact disk drives. In order to make the process manageable, we used field-deployable appliances that can import data for each library, environment, or site at a time. A project this large takes considerable time; however, our solution helped break the entire project into manageable phases.
How Our Tape Storage Solution Helped Save Our Client Money Faster
In the end, only two NetBackup Appliances in two master server domains could handle everything from 15,000 magnetic tapes that contained 700 terabytes of data. IT can access these drives for an immediate restore of their legacy data. The consolidation process takes time, but since our process breaks it down into phases, IT can schedule it at their convenience.
Because of our phased approach, each site, library, or environment can get decommissioned after the data transfer. An IT department can enjoy quick cost savings, and they can watch those savings accumulate over the life of the project.
At DataEndure, We’ve Got Better Storage Solutions
We can recommend storage solutions for your business. Your company needs secure, reliable, advanced, and reliable data storage, without the headaches of decades-old legacy data storage. Magnetic tapes worked well while they lasted, but your company needs 21st Century technology that can save money, reduce workloads, and free resources.
You can use our handy savings calculator to see how much money we can save your company by implementing a better storage solution, including NetApp. After you learn how much you might save, contact us to discuss your storage issues.