Organizations Need LTO-5 Today!
Information is constantly being added to corporate databases growing the
amount of structured data. And unstructured data including office productivity
application files, images, video, and audio files are being added at
unprecedented rates. As a result, there is simply much more data, many more
files, and many more larger files to store today than ever.
years, tape storage systems have played a key role in efforts to store data for
backup and retrieval, archiving, and contingency planning purposes. More
recently, tape has been called on to help preserve and safeguard data to meet
data retention laws and regulations.
The challenge is how to
manage, retain, and safeguard the data volumes being generated today.
New tape technology provides a solution. With a capacity to store 3 TB of data
per cartridge, recently introduced Linear Tape-Open (LTO)-5 tapes offer twice
the storage capacity of LTO-4 and about four times the capacity of LTO-3
systems. Additionally, LTO-5 offers the higher throughput, enhanced security,
and advanced data protection features required to do business today.
Storage and security demands continue to multiply
the data explosion issue into perspective with respect to its impact on tape,
consider that even in last year’s tough economic times shipped disk storage
capacity grew at a remarkable rate. All of the data being placed on that new
disk capacity needs to be backed up, and much of it must also be retained for
long periods of time.
An indication of the data explosion in
companies (even during the worst economic times last year) comes from a 2009
eWEEK article. The article reported on the IDC Quarterly Disk Storage Systems
Tracker, noting that in the first quarter of 2009 disk storage systems capacity
shipped reached 2,460 petabytes, an increase of 27.3 percent over the same
quarter a year earlier. That trend continued throughout the year. In the third
quarter of 2009, total disk storage systems capacity shipped reached 2,661
petabytes, growing 21 percent year over year, according to IDC. If disk volumes
are growing at these rates, data stored on tape must also be experiencing
double-digit growth since the data needs to be backed up and much of it must be
So how should an organization best protect that data? Many
companies are using disk-based systems for short-term backup and tape for
long-term retention. For example, it is quite common to stage recently generated
data on a disk system for fast retrieval if a file gets deleted or becomes
corrupted. Such systems also provide for quick access to backed-up data.
However, tape is the critical element in ensuring that data is preserved
In many cases, companies use a tiered storage approach
where data is progressively migrated to appropriate price/performance storage
devices. And even when a tier is used for disk-based backup, companies backup
that data to tape for long-term retention, archiving, and offsite safety.
In addition to its use for backup and retrieval, offsite storage of data on
tape is the primary element in most disaster recovery and business contingency
plans. To put the value of offsite storage and the need for adequate disaster
recovery into perspective, a 2009 Wall Street Journal article noted that while
about 25 percent of businesses do not reopen after a major disaster, the
percentage doubles for companies that lack a continuity plan.
specific regulatory mandates such as Securities and Exchange Commission
regulations that require certain financial documents to be retained for seven
years. And businesses must keep certain financial and tax records for comparable
periods to satisfy the IRS or Sarbanes-Oxley regulations in the event of an
audit. There are also industry-specific regulations, such as the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) that govern data privacy.
Further, since December 2006, when amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure went into effect, companies have been impacted by so-called eDiscovery
laws. In particular, companies in litigation are now often required to produce
e-mail, documents, digital voice mail messages, and other files. This has
compelled many companies to archive data (particularly e-mail messages) for
longer periods than would have been needed in the past.
New tapes and drives based on the generation-five
specifications for the LTO-5 program offer the high capacity and performance
needed to match the growing data storage challenge faced in most companies.
In all applications – backup, archiving, disaster recovery, and data
retention – the ability to store more data on a single tape cartridge keeps
costs down, while helping make tape management easier. To put the potential
savings into perspective, consider that a single LTO-5 tape can store 3 TB of
data (2:1 data compression). That’s twice the capacity of LTO-4 tapes and four
times the capacity of LTO-3 tapes. So, significantly fewer tapes are needed to
back-up the same volume of data. This saves on the cost of media and on tape
management time put in by the IT staff.
Naturally, as data volumes grow,
the time it takes to perform a backup or archiving operation grows as well. To
address this issue, LTO-5 offers help in two areas. First, LTO-5 technology
supports higher data throughputs. Specifically, LTO-5 delivers 280 MB/s
throughput (2:1 data compression). That’s 40 MB/s faster than LTO-4 and 120 MB/s
faster than LTO-3 (2:1 data compression). Faster throughput allows companies to
complete backup and archiving jobs faster, which is important as data growth
A second performance enhancement in LTO-5 is an interface
that supports 8 Gb Fibre Channel (FC) connections. This allows LTO-5 to be
deployed into an 8 Gb FC network, making it easier to stream data from
high-performance storage disk drive systems to tape backup. In such deployments,
the higher throughout performance offered with LTO-5 complements the high-speed
Additionally, LTO-5 technology is read-and
write-compatible with LTO-4 cartridges and backward-read compatible with LTO-3,
which protects a company’s investments and simplifies data migration projects.
In the future, an additional benefit will come when applications
leverage another feature introduced in LTO-5 technology. That feature is the
capability to partition LTO-5 media, providing enhanced file control and data
indexing. This can enable near-line applications to index data on tape,
facilitating data access and archiving on tape.
LTO-5’s higher capacity and performance clearly
helps in addressing the data explosion. And it also can help with the data
management and protection challenges businesses face today.
companies are trying to rein in operational costs. One area of focus for IT
operations is cutting back on the use of electricity. Additionally, some
companies are embracing sustainability and green initiatives that seek to reduce
the amount of energy used.
This focus on reduced power consumption is
driving revived interest in tape. The reason: spinning disks need electricity
for power and cooling. A 2009 blog by the early-stage venture capital fund New
Atlantic Ventures noted that IDC estimated that in 2008, it cost $36.29 to power
and cool an average data center disk drive for a year.
Once data is
stored on tape, no electricity is required to preserve it. The Clipper Group
estimates that power costs associated with storing data long-term on tape are
less than 1 percent of the cost of storing the same data long-term on disk.
Data protection and data privacy are also concerns for many companies today.
Over the last two years, there have been numerous incidents where private data
about employees, patients, or customers has been exposed due to lost or stolen
tapes, according to the nonprofit consumer organization the Privacy Rights
Clearinghouse. The organization’s Chronology of Data Breaches includes many
banks, businesses, and healthcare providers that have experienced this problem.
In such breaches, the companies faced possible bad publicity, fines, penalties,
and a loss of customer confidence.
A 2010 eWEEK article quantified the
risk from such data breaches. The article cited a Ponemon Institute study that
found the average cost of a breach in 2009 rose to $204 per compromised record,
up from $202 in 2008. The study also found that the average organizational cost
of a data breach rose from $6.65 million in 2008 to $6.75 million in 2009.
LTO-4 incorporated native encryption technology to protect data stored on
tape. Many companies made the move from LTO-3 to LTO-4 for the added protection.
LTO-5 continues the effort by offering the same encryption technology. In
particular, LTO-5 drives encrypt data using the 256-bit AES algorithm, which is
recommended by the U.S. government for the highest levels of data security. With
this technology, the encryption keys are, as the name suggests, 256 bits long,
making them nearly impossible to guess or crack using brute-force techniques
commonly employed by hackers. (The data is useless without the correct
encryption key to unlock the data.)
Additionally, encryption by LTO-5 drives
is hardware-based, meaning companies can reap the highest levels of security
without any loss of performance during the encryption process.
companies that did not make the move to LTO-4, this may be the time to upgrade
to LTO-5. The reason: due to the rapid growth of data breaches and identity
theft over the last few years, there are now significantly more data privacy
laws and regulations. For example, beyond regulations such as HIPAA, there are
relatively new industry mandates such as PCI DSS, as well as numerous state
privacy laws. Encryption is essential in meeting these regulations and laws.
Additionally, many of these new regulations require special data-handling
procedures to ensure data is not tampered with or deleted. Similar to its
encryption support, LTO-5, like LTO-4, supports Write Once, Read Many (WORM)
technology required to pass audits and meet regulatory compliance requirements.
BackupWorks offers a full range of price/performance tape and disk
solutions that include high-capacity media, autoloaders, tape libraries, and
disk-based backup systems. For more information call your BackupWorks Rep today
866 801 2944