I remember some 20 + years ago (prior LTO1) there was all kinds of noise that tape is dead and mainframes were going the way of the dinosaur. Well, the mainframe has taken a back seat to other compute platforms but with LTO9 announced and a road map exceeding LTO12 it doesn’t appear that tape is going anywhere soon for several key reasons, Capacity, Performance/Throughput and Off Network (anti-Ransomware).
Capacity: The reality is that ½ inch tape cart (LTO8) can store 12 TB natively (before compression that can yield 30 TB compressed) which is significant in the world of exploding data and the search for green solutions, cloud computing, compliance pressures on and on and on, TAPE IS COST EFFECTIVE. ($75.00 per cartridge). The compression capability dependent on the type data and other factors can be as much as 30 TB per cartridge.
Performance/Throughput: The utilization of tape in a backup environment is very much appropriate and effective for the right environment. The current performance statistics of a single LTO8 tape drive SAS attached is 3.6TB per Hour. A small tape library with (2) drives and 24 slots can accomplish 7.2 TB per hour with a library native capacity of 276 TB (690 TB compressed) leaving a slot for a cleaning cartridge to keep the drives clean. The small form factor of tape libraries (4U) available today can double the throughput. These performance profiles are adequate for most SMB environments.
Off Network: The most obvious benefit is the data on tape is off network consequently and not accessible to the ransomware threat. Data protection like any security discipline should have a layered approach to be effective.
The best practices of 3-2-1 to backup leveraging tape as one of the copies is not terrible.
While not wildly popular in the trade press to me with the inherent automation and backup software’s continued support of tape I can see small tape libraries being deployed on the Edge 😊