Physical Tape

Musings on the Spectra Logic T-Finity Announcement

Last week Spectra Logic unveiled the T-Finity, a new high-end tape library that is one of the largest and most scalable units in the industry.  The system can grow to 30,000 tape slots and 480 drives and it creates some interesting questions.

As data backup and recovery SLAs have become more stringent, end users have migrated rapidly to disk-based technologies.  Deduplication also adds value by reducing $/GB and required disk capacity although the technology can negatively impact backup and recovery performance.  These two trends have combined to reduce the requirements for physical tape and many tape vendors are seeing declining revenues.  This is not to say that tape is dead, it is very much in use and will be for the foreseeable future, but the use model has changed.  Physical tape is typically used for very long-term data archival where multi-year retention is not uncommon.