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Why Organizations need LTO-7 Technology Today

The amount of data that IT organizations are managing continues to grow. A recent research report by the Enterprise Strategy Group finds that 25% of respondents at the organizations they surveyed are experiencing annual growth rates of 11%-20%, and more than 25% are experiencing growth rates in excess of 50%.

Traditional sources of data growth include email and enterprise resource planning systems. In recent years the growth from other data sources has accelerated even faster, as office productivity applications, images, video, and audio files are being added at unprecedented rates. And further challenging IT organizations, content owners want to retain access to their data indefinitely. As a result, there is simply much more data, larger files and more of them to store today, and these files need to be retained longer and remain readily accessible to the content owners.

For years, tape storage systems have played a key role in data backup, recovery, longterm retention for legal compliance, and archiving processes.

The challenge is how to manage, retain, and safeguard the large, growing data volumes being generated today, within the cost constraints of today’s IT budget. The same ESG report reveals that over half the respondent organizations’ state capital (i.e., hardware) and/or operational expenses—including both staff and power and cooling costs—as storage challenges, with nearly one in five citing cost as their primary challenge.

New tape technology provides a solution. With a capacity to store 15TB of compressed data per cartridge, the recently announced latest generation of LTO Ultrium, LTO-7, offers 2.4 times the cartridge capacity of LTO-6 and five times the cartridge capacity of LTO-5. Additionally, LTO-7 offers nearly twice the performance of LTO-6 and more than twice the performance of LTO-5 with enhanced security, and data management features required to do business today, further enhancing tape’s cost advantage for long-term data storage and data archiving.

More Data, Longer Retention

Many companies use disk-based systems for short-term backup and tape systems for long-term data retention. This approach provides the benefit of staging recently generated data on a disk backup system, providing simpler restores, while leveraging tape’s lower TCO (total cost of ownership) for long-term data retention and archiving. Additionally, tape is the primary element in most disaster recovery and business contingency plans, with tapes being stored off-site in case of fire, sabotage, natural disaster, or other such calamities.

Retaining data long term has been historically driven by regulatory mandates such as Securities and Exchange Commission, IRS, and Sarbanes-Oxley regulations that require certain financial documents be retained for seven years or longer. Additionally, so-called eDiscovery laws have compelled companies to archive data longer (particularly email messages) as litigation may require the delivery of emails, documents, digital voicemail messages, and other related files.

Recently, however, companies have recognized their data has significant value to the business, and as a result they are seeking to retain data assets longer for internal reasons beyond regulatory compliance. Business intelligence applications are helping improve customer satisfaction, better target customer communications, and improve business efficiencies. Marketing and training departments, as well as product teams, are leveraging more video content and graphic-intensive documentation to market and educate internal and external customers and partners. Companies have found the content utilized and created in these business activities frequently has value well after the initial project is completed, and are holding onto this content accordingly.

Tape Keeps Pace

New tapes and drives based on the LTO-7 specifications 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-7 tape can store 15TB of data (using data compression). That’s more than 2.4 times the capacity of LTO-6 tapes and five times the capacity of LTO-5 tapes. So, significantly fewer tapes are needed to store the same volume of data. This saves on the cost of the media, off-site storage, and tape management time 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-7 technology offers significantly higher data throughputs. Specifically, LTO-7 drives deliver 750MB/s throughput (based on 2.5:1 data compression), that’s 2.7TB/hr. In contrast, LTO-6 drives offer 400MB/s (1.4TB/hr), and LTO-5 drives offer 280MB/s (1TB/hr). The higher throughput afforded by LTO-7 technology allows users to complete jobs faster, which is important as data growth increases. Deploying LTO-7 into a high-performance network, capable of supporting the drive throughput, makes it easier to stream data from highperformance storage disk systems to tape.

Additionally, LTO-7 technology is backward-read- and write-compatible with LTO-6 cartridges and backward-read compatible with LTO-5 cartridges, which protects a company’s investments and simplifies data migration.

New Pressures, Additional Benefits

The higher capacity and performance of LTO-7 technology clearly helps in addressing the data explosion. It also can help with the data management and protection challenges businesses face today. As companies try to rein in operational costs, a significant component—and thus an area of focus—is electrical costs associated with power and cooling. Reducing the amount of energy used in the data center also supports corporate sustainability and green initiatives that many companies are embracing

This focus on reduced power consumption inevitably leads to consideration of tape. The reason: spinning disks need electricity for power and cooling. Once data is stored on tape, no electricity is required to preserve it. In the Clipper Group’s 2015 TCO analysis, they estimate average power costs to store data long term on disk to be 76 times greater than storing the same data long term on tape. Another feature of LTO technology is support for a technology called the Linear Tape File System (LTFS). LTFS simplifies the management and accessibility of files stored on tape.

LTFS is a file system on the tape, enabling tape to function like a NAS share, or a thumb drive, allowing users to simply search, access, and store files easily with familiar file system tools including the dragging and dropping of files. And LTFS is a common, open-standard format so tapes written in the LTFS format can be read anywhere with the open-source LTFS software. LTFS simplifies users’ accessibility to their content, eliminates the need for IT involvement like restoring files from a backup/ archive application, and stores the content in an open-standard format. These LTFS benefits, along with tape’s inherent TCO advantages, make LTFS tape an ideal solution for content archives.

Data protection and data privacy are also a concern for many companies today. Issues related to data breaches and privacy attacks unfortunately are well-known these days. The LTO specifications, starting with LTO-4, incorporate native encryption technology to protect data stored on tape. LTO-7 technology continues this support with LTO-7 drives encrypting 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. The data is inaccessible and thus useless without the correct encryption key to unlock the data.

Additionally, encryption by LTO-7 drives is hardware based, meaning companies can reap the highest levels of security without any loss of performance during the encryption process.

Due to the rapid growth of data breaches and identity theft over the last few years, and with encryption capability built into the LTO drives as a standard feature, there is no reason not to take advantage of this important security feature. Additionally, many regulations require special data handling procedures to ensure data is not tampered with or deleted. Similar to its encryption support, LTO-7 supports Write Once, Read Many (WORM) technology required to pass audits and meet regulatory compliance requirements.

BackupWorks.com as Your Technology Partner

For nearly 17 years, BackupWorks.com has been a leader in Data Storage.  We have a comprehensive offering of varying LTO Automation Products delivering best in class features as part of a tiered storage solution.

We offer LTO-7 in a number of different options, ranging from Standalone Tape Drives all the way up to 500 slot Tape Libraries and everything in between.  We also offer a host of different connectivity options with LTO-7 technology, from SAS to FC (Fiber Channel) to USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt.  BackupWorks.com has aligned with best in practice in terms of our Hardware offerings, with the likes of Quantum and Overland Storage.

In September 2015, Quantum announced plans to integrate LTO-7 technology into its Scalar and StorNext AEL tape automation systems with availability starting in December. LTO-7 tape drives more than double the cartridge capacity and nearly doubles the transfer rates over LTO-6 technology. As a result, Quantum’s Scalar i6000 and StorNext AEL6000 enterprise tape libraries can scale to over 225PB, with Scalar i500 and StorNext AEL500 midrange systems scaling to over 6PB.

Quantum also offer a full range of LTO-7 autoloaders, tape drives, and media.  Checkout the Quantum SuperLoader 3 16 slot Autoloaders or the Quantum Scalar i40 with LTO-7 and Quantum Scalar i80 LTO-7.

We also have a complete product offering from Overland Storage in terms of LTO-7 Tape Autoloaders and LTO-7 Tape Libraries.  Checkout Overland Storage NEOs Series.  With capacity ranging from 24 to 48 slots the NEOs T24 and NEOs T48 LTO-7 Tape Libraries are super popular and offer an excellent price point.  We also offer the NEO XL series, with the NEOxl 60 and NEOxl 80 available in LTO-7. 

Call BackupWorks.com today for a quote and see how LTO-7 Tape fits into your Data Storage Retention Process. 866 801 2944

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