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 was shipped last year.

LTO Program Technology Provider Companies HPE and IBM have released their annual tape media shipment report which shows that LTO tape saw an impressive growth rate of 40 percent in 2021.

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

GM and VP of HPE Storage, Patrick Osborne provided further insight on the report’s findings in a press release, saying:

“Despite the significant business disruptions and uncertainty in 2021, LTO tape capacity shipments achieved the largest increase since 2006, surpassing the previous record set in 2019. We’re continuing to see organizations return to tape technology, seeking out storage solutions that offer high capacity, reliability, long term data archiving and stronger data protection measures, especially as threats to cybersecurity soar.”

Cyberthreats continue to drive tape adoption

When an organization has its systems infected with malware or its files are locked following a ransomware attack, this can do irreparable harm to its business. While there are proactive measures a company can take to defend against the latest cyberthreats, tape storage prevents sensitive files and documents from being online in the first place.

According to the LTO Program, organizations are increasingly turning to LTO tape technology for increased data protection at a time when ransomware attacks are surging. This is because tape storage offers an inherent air-gap which denies cybercriminals the physical connectivity needed to access, encrypt or delete data.

At the same time, ransomware trends are reinforcing the need for organizations to adopt the 3-2-1-1 backup rule where at least three copies of data are stored on two different storage mediums with one off-site and one offline.

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

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

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