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Taneja Blog / Data Center Systems / Data Protection/Management

Think of All the Money You’ll Save: The Scale-up Economies of Tape

Economies of tape are overwhelmingly economies of scale. The bigger the scale the bigger tape’s OPEX advantages.

Tape disk sizes are growing exponentially to multi-TBs on a single cartridge, PBs in a single library and Exabytes in linked libraries. Along with dedupe and compression – the same technologies that save room on any storage medium – tape is commensurate with or surpasses disk capacities. Capacity of course is not the only benefit since disk has the advantage of remaining online without the added expense of an on-site tape library. The real savings with large-volume tape is in significantly lower OPEX than disk, mostly from power costs. Tape libraries take power but at a fraction of the cost of spinning disk holding the same amount of data. Tape vaulting takes even less power, and the expense of buying or leasing vault space is negligible spread out over data retention lifecycles. The upshot is tape’s lower cost per GB basis when you factor in power costs.

This difference is not very great with small amounts of data. But when storage environments scale up, the cost difference scales up sharply. And since a good 80-95% of data in typical environments is inactive, it is at larger scales that tape saves large sums against the cost of powering spinning disk for inactive files. This economy of scale also stacks up against the cloud. Cloud storage costs for storing inactive files is low, but uploading and downloading massive data volumes may be time- and cost-prohibitive. By storing inactive but retained data on the tape library, IT can realize economies of scale and still have data immediately available. This is especially useful when IT is using an active archiving technology on the tape library for immediate restore to application and user requests.

Read our new report “Tape Libraries: Why, When and Where?”

  • Premiered: 08/02/13
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Tape library libraries Storage


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