LACyber is a Division of Lincoln Archives Inc.

Old is Gold-- Tape Storage

(Uploaded: 2020-08-21 08:11:56 -- Author: Zayn Jaffri)

Close your eyes-- figuratively of course, and imagine yourself sitting in your parent's 85' Dodge Caravan after whatever it is you borrowed the car to do. You're sitting there with your friends and one of them suggests playing music. Nothing would set the mood better than the classic powerful sounds of the Beatles. You reach around to your stash of cassette tapes and pick out the song you want. You push it into the slot and enjoy the melodies.

Now what if I told you, tapes are not bound to your past!

In fact, tapes might even be the optimal solution for your data storage dilemma.

Being one of the younger members of the workforce, I never really put any thought into storing data on tape. It was all about newer and smaller for me. I would even go as far as saying I didn't even know tape was still being used. My first task as a brand-new employee of LACyber was to learn about the multitude of services offered by LACyber. It was during this that I learned about Tape and all that it has to offer.

Every single day there are approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created by users like me and you. That's 2.5 billion GB. Imagine all the cat videos!! When the world is generating such a vast amount of data, it is entirely necessary to make sure that this data is stored, properly, safely, and in a manner in which the data can be retrieved when needed. Storage via tape provides all these at an extremely affordable price.

But before we talk about solutions, we must know our problems:
  1. We have a lot of data and need somewhere to put it all long-term.
  2. Data must not be lost in case you need files from years or even decades ago.
  3. Data must be recoverable quickly.

Now, how does an archaic technology like tape stand up to these issues. In front of cutting-edge tech like Cloud Storage and SSD, tape seems almost insignificant. However, over a decade of research and development has made tape a power house for affordability and security. The newest LTO (Linear Tape-Open), LTO-08, offers an impressive 12 TB native capacity and 30 TB compressed capacity. Future generations of LTO which go up to LTO-12 are currently mapped to go up to 192 TB native and 480 TB compressed.

Tape is the best option for long-term data storage not only because of its price, but also because of how long it lasts and its low data corruption rates. Large corporations like IBM and Amazon use tape storage to store data they may need for legal purposes years down the road. Essentially, tape grants you the freedom to store your data safely, and forget about it until you need it.

This brings me to speed. Your average HDD or spinning disk will have data recovery speeds of up to 160 MB/sec. Impressive, but tape can do better. LTO-08 offers a whopping 750 MB/s compressed transfer rate. Your data will be ready like new and available to download quickly. LTO technology is also backwards compatible so that you can move data from up to two generations prior.

Okay, so, now we know that tape can hold a lot of data. But what about security? If you're going to be storing hundreds and thousands of TBs of data long-term, you want to know that it is safe from an attack. Unprotected data is highly susceptible to ransomware and viruses.

In 2019, a company by the name of had their data leaked. They had an unprotected database of 809 MILLION records of clients. Every last record in that database was released to the infinite expanse of the internet.

An unprotected server hosted on the legendary Amazon Web Server had almost 275 million personally identifiable information records of customers in India completely deleted by a hacker group called Unistellar.

Companies that implement tape as a long-term storage solution have a natural defense from these attacks, Airgap Defense. Airgap Defense is what makes tapes virtually un-hackable. Tapes do not require constant power to remain effective. We can take it completely offline and unreachable to prying eyes. The best way to protect yourself from something ONline, is to take yourself OFFline. By creating a literal Airgap between the data and hackers you are making sure that sensitive records remain safe and secure.

I took the opportunity during quarantine to build my own computer with some left-over money. I personally enjoy the challenge of shopping for the right parts to build a machine that performs well and lasts long. During my search I needed to look for a storage option. Naturally, since I needed a lot of space for data and still fit it into a computer case, I looked at SSD and HDD. They offered me lower data space but less physical demand. Herein lies a possible challenge with tape.

A secure, climate-controlled space to store the tapes properly.

While tape may be the lowest cost, highest capacity, and fastest option it is also physically the biggest. However, LACyber offers remote storage vaults for all your data. LACyber knows that not all businesses have room for tape and offers Tape Vaulting and Rotation services to ensure that your data is safe and yet accessible.

For companies trying to find a data storage solution, I highly recommend considering tape. You get affordability, speed, capacity, and security. Should you have any legal appointments and must produce documents from decades ago, tape will be there ready to give you exactly what you need. We, at LACyber, can help guide you through the journey of adopting, like so many others, tape products and services as your main long-term solution for data storage, growth, and protection.

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