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No One Told Oracle Tape Is Dead

by on February 25, 2011

Pessimistic prognostications about the future of tape storage in the enterprise abound, but they don’t seem to be deterring new products from coming to market or tape makers from planning for the long haul. A case in point is the new tape drive recently released by Oracle. The T10000C can handle more data, has better performance and has a smaller footprint than its competitors, according to the company.

Tape_tombstone Tape cartridges for the drive can hold five terabytes of data (uncompressed) and has a throughput of 240 MB/sec. By comparison, a Fujifilm LTO-5 cartridge has a capacity of 1.5TB (uncompressed) and throughput of 140 MB/sec. “This is not your average enhancement,” Oracle Vice President James Cates told the Digital9 website. “[I]t’s a real change in the trajectory of tape products [with] a TCO [Total Cost of Ownership] that’s 23 percent lower than the competition.”

IDC Data Protection and Recovery Director Robert Amatruda added that Oracle’s aim is to help enterprise customers continue to grapple with unabated data growth, extremely long retention periods, short backup windows, and budget and floor-space constraints.

While not even tape makers would argue that their product is taking a backseat to disk storage in many businesses, the medium appears to be far from the grave, as both the recent Oracle announcement and the roadmap for tape suggests. That roadmap calls for tape to reach capacities of 12.8TB (uncompressed) in the near future.

Disk-based solutions may be getting most of the mindshare in storage circles, but tape remains viable for a number of reasons, as Greg Schultz pointed out at the Enterprise Storage Forum. “There have been performance, availability and capacity improvements to magnetic tape that continue to make its use cost-effective,” he wrote. “Tape can be easily added to enhance an existing tape ecosystem. The addition of tape tracking, encryption, media handling and management to address customer pain points continue to appear in the market for tape-based solutions.”

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