Tape storage is anything but dead, it’s going from strength to strength

Tape storage is far from obsolete, as a new report from the LTO program has revealed that a record 148 exabytes of tape were shipped last year.

LTO program technology provider companies HPE and IBM have released their annual tape media shipment report which shows that LTO tape has seen an impressive growth rate of 40% in 2021.

Although only 105 Eb of total tape capacity was shipped during the pandemic in 2020 and 114 Eb (the previous high) was shipped in 2019, tape shipments last year broke a new record as organizations were trying to reduce cloud storage costs when archiving their unstructured data.

HPE Storage General Manager and Vice President Patrick Osborne provided additional insight into the report’s findings in a press release, saying:

“Despite significant business disruption and uncertainty in 2021, LTO tape capacity shipments recorded the largest increase since 2006, surpassing the previous record set in 2019. We continue to see organizations returning to tape technology, looking for storage solutions that offer high capacity, reliability, long-term data archiving, and strong data protection measures, especially as cybersecurity threats soar.

Cyber ​​threats continue to drive tape adoption

When an organization has its systems infected with malware or its files locked down due to a ransomware attack, it can cause irreparable harm to its business. While there are proactive steps a business can take to defend against the latest cyber threats, tape storage keeps sensitive files and documents from being online in the first place.

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According to the LTO program, businesses are increasingly turning to LTO tape technology for increased data protection at a time when ransomware attacks are on the rise. This is because tape storage provides an inherent air gap that deprives cybercriminals of the physical connectivity needed to access, encrypt, or delete data.

At the same time, ransomware trends reinforce the need for organizations to adopt the 3-2-1-1 backup rule whereby at least three copies of data are stored on two different storage media, the one offsite and the other offline.

LTO-9 technology also makes it easier for businesses to store more data on a single tape as it offers increased tape cartridge storage capacity of up to 45TB when compressed. LTO-9 drives are even fully backward compatible with LTO-8 cartridges so organizations can continue to use their existing tape storage.

The question now is whether the increased adoption of tape storage will continue this year and whether the total amount of tape capacity shipped in 2022 will exceed last year’s shipments.

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