Active Archives Leverage Tape to Help Tame Unprecedented Data Growth

December 9th, 2019 by Meredith Bagnulo

Active archives are gaining prominence as a modern strategy to solve data growth challenges, and many of today’s active archive implementations tap the strong economics and reliability of tape technologies. With seamless access to online data at scale, active archive usage is expanding as it meets the requirements of modern applications such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) that consume massive data volumes.

These trends and usages were recently highlighted in the Tape Storage Council’s 2019 State of the Tape Industry report, which noted that the role tape serves in today’s modern data centers is quickly expanding into new markets as compelling technological advancements have made tape the most economical, highest capacity, and the most reliable and secure storage medium available.

Active archives are increasingly being used to address the complexity of storing massive amounts of information with an intelligent data management layer, as noted in this excerpt:

“Archive solutions are gaining momentum and significantly improve access time to tape data by using HDDs or SSDs as a cache buffer in conjunction with a tape library. The active archive enables a high percentage of read requests to the tape subsystem to be satisfied from SSDs or HDDs (the cache hit ratio), improving access time to the first byte of data. An active archive can serve onsite, offsite, and cloud environments. New use cases such as AI, machine learning, big data analytics, the IoT, including intelligent vehicles, homes, and offices, are driving increased demand for active archives. This demand is particularly evident with organizations that need to effectively manage and analyze data from terabytes to exabytes across multiple storage tiers.”

And, tape’s technological advancements include the arrival of the IBM TS1160 enterprise tape drive which has helped tape tackle mounting storage-intensive challenges, including cloud storage, high-performance computing (HPC), and the expanding number of hyperscale data centers. The new drive also positions tape to serve the unknown appetite of entertainment, surveillance, and the rapid emergence of the IoT and edge computing.

Modern tape continues to drive reliability, capacity, and data rates to the highest levels in the storage industry, making it a valuable and cost-effective part of many active archive infrastructures.


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