Skip to content

Why EMC’s Data Domain Archiver Is Not Really a Threat to Tape

by on January 25, 2011

Tape storage has been under fire from disk-based systems for some time but one area that has been practically impregnable for tape is archival storage. That’s because it’s hard to justify the cost of disk storage for information that’s rarely accessed by an organization. Disk storage system maker EMC, though, sent a shot across the bow of the good ship tape archives recently with its announcement of its new Data Domain Archiver.

Cannon_fight-2 The technology is designed to store both backups and archival data in a single system. It uses a tiered storage approach that can be configured to conform to policies for moving data automatically from backups to archives through data deduplication. EMC says the system is fast. It pegs throughput at 9.6 terabytes per hour, which will make administrators laboring under shrinking backup windows happy. And its raw capacity of 768TB can be allocated between backup and archive tiers to meet a user’s needs.

What’s missing from EMC’s announcement, though, is how the system stacks up to tape’s strong suits: energy savings and economical pricing. For example, an LTO-4 tape drive can achieve as much as 99 percent energy savings per terabyte compared to disk-based systems. When you consider that the real cost of a $1500 server in a data center balloons to $8000 when power and air conditioning costs are factored into the picture, those kinds of energy consumption numbers for tape aren’t something to ignore.

On the cost side, an LTO-4 tape system with a capacity equivalent to the EMC setup would cost in the neighborhood of $73,000. Data Domain Archiver pricing starts at $220,000—and that’s just for 24TB. It doesn’t take a math wizard to calculate that to get the EMC system up to its maximum capacity would cost a lot more than $73,000, more than 10 times more. Even Silverton Consulting president Ray Lucchesi said of EMC, “Economically, disk still can’t compete with tape…”

All this just goes to prove that every medium has its place in today’s environment. The EMC system may be an attractive alternative to tape for its backup and archival needs, but for businesses with a concern for the environment and energy spending, as well as a need for low cost archival storage, tape’s advantages can’t be beat at this time.

What is your opinion on this? Obviously there are some benefits to the new system, but can they overcome its shortcomings?

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: