File and Object Storage

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Envisioning the future of cold data

By JULIO (Juls) HERNANDEZ posted Thu November 16, 2017 04:18 AM

In my almost 20 years working in the storage industry, I have been deeply engaged in the launch of the LTO tape drive technology, back in 2000 year, as a Manufacturing Engineer; I was in charge of the first LTO tape drive generation product line. Later on, as Offering Manager, in the announcements of LTO 6, 7 and recently LTO 8 Tape drive generations.

Although it is very true that the traditional market for tape (BaR) Backup & Restore is declining according to the IDC1; there are new industries and use cases demanding an immense amount of storage capacity at the lowest cost per gigabyte possible. While at the same time, modern workloads demand embedded capabilities of manageability and interoperability.

Here is where I see a tremendous opportunity for the new LTO 8 tape drive; delivering 12 TB of storage capacity and up to 360 MB per second in conjunction with the broadest automation platform in the industry and combined with SDS (Software Defined Storage) capabilities. From my perspective, by itself, it represents a comprehensive offering, not just a set of enhanced features and functions

Based on different market analyses, I see a big opportunities in the following industries:

Media & Entertainment (M&E) is growing at 4.4% CARG through 2024 2; driven by the adoption of ultra-high definition (4K and 8K) formats. Combined flash and tape technologies (FLAPE) in conjunction with IBM Spectrum Archive (LTFS format) is becoming instrumental for maintaining high performance in the data acquisition and editing process while reducing the cost of archive content without compromising digital asset management.


Genome research by itself will surpass YouTube and Twitter in data generation by 2025 with 40 EB 3 of data (according to big data Astronomical or Genomical), this industry is challenged by the exceptional storage infrastructure which requires fast-tiered storage system. According to this article “genomics is a four-headed beast, it is either on par with or the most demanding of the Big Data domains regarding data acquisition, storage, distribution, and analysis.”



Virtual Machines (VM) and Big Data and Analytics (BDA) market forecast a $33 billion and $20 billion revenue respectively by 2020, according to IDC 4 traditionally, tape has had a small presence in this market. There is a tremendous volume of data streaming into today’s business environments, virtualization and big data analytics are enabling, organizations to benefit from this data. These benefits come with the challenges of providing efficient, cost-effective storage. VM software vendors capture entire VM images to create fast recovery points and provide outstanding data protection, but also creates enormous amounts of data. Similarly, analytics technologies such as Netezza create images in terabyte-sized chunks that need to be archived, then retrieved as whole images, requiring significant storage. Tape in conjunction with SDS is optimized to support these environments without disrupting the traceability and manageability of the content. We have strengthened our partnership with third-party vendors, like Veeam who has been gaining market in this space, Veeam has already certified LTO 7 Tape drive and shortly is planning on announcing native support of the new TS4300 tape library.

Finally, this has been an incredible year for the Tape organization within the IBM Storage portfolio; the LTO 8 tape drive represents its third major announcement in 2017 (previously the TS1155 tape drive announced in May and the TS4300 library in July). Armed with the best storage portfolio of solutions, IBM Tape Storage is well suited to address ever-growing storage needs at the lowest cost in the industry. Leveraging its number one position in the market and enhancing partnerships with key members of the ecosystem, securing its place as the storage's core for generations to come.