Active Archive in the Summit Spotlight

By Rich Gadomski

I recently returned from the great city of Boston where I had a lot of fun with the locals who have a “wicked” sense of humor and a funny accent I can’t imitate being from New York. I was in town facilitating our 8th Annual Global IT Executive Summit. The theme this year was “Exploring the New World of Storage.” Boston was a fitting location given its history in shaping our country and the storage industry too. Speakers from the analyst, vendor and end user communities presented on the latest trends that are emerging in a new world of storage driven by so many innovations in flash, disk, tape, cloud and data management software.

One subject that kept popping up was the need to control runaway costs associated with unrelenting data growth that’s compounded by long-term retention requirements. A common solution that many speakers referenced was the need for a well-planned tiering strategy where data moves as it ages from expensive tiers of primary storage to secondary, tertiary and even the cloud as a fourth tier. Speakers presented on various solutions to manage data growth with long-term retention requirements stemming from compliance regulations, protection of business assets and content, disaster recovery and big data analytics.

A key concept that got a fair amount of the spotlight in the tiering conversations was active archiving solutions. In an active archive, long-term data remains cost effectively online and easily accessible by leveraging innovative and integrated solutions that intelligently manage data across flash, disk, tape and the cloud. This is really where cost savings can come into play by matching data types to the right tier of storage.

It was pointed out by more than one speaker that an active archive solution can be implemented with existing storage equipment and without changing workflows while being transparent to the end user. Since we can’t predict when archival data will be needed again and with that data being kept for longer and longer retention periods, what’s needed are solutions that are cost effective and automatically migrate data from generation to generation of low cost yet reliable media such as LTO tape.

It was also noted during the conference that with today’s advanced tape solutions, long-term affordable active archiving is a reality. Tape now offers: the lowest TCO for long-term storage thanks in part to its high capacity and very low energy consumption; the best reliability as measured in bit-error rate; transfer speeds greater than HDD at 360 MB/second; and a long archival life of 30+ years. Speaking of capacity, the potential for 220 TB on a single tape cartridge based on Barium Ferrite technology has already been proven. Barium Ferrite will enable achievement of the tape technology roadmap plans well into the future and will support active archiving for many decades to come.

Now if we can just get the Bostonians to pronounce the “r” in active archive, we’ll be all set!