Data Tape Storage Market Continues to Grow

The market for data storage tapes continues to grow, boosted by the strong adoption of the LTO-9 format. 

LTO (Linear Tape Open) remains the most popular format for magnetic tape storage, though many enterprises still rely on legacy solutions like DLT (Digital Linear Tape) and AIT (Advanced Intelligent Tape). LTO-9 features a capacity of 18 terabytes (TB) native and 45 TB compressed, with compressed transfer rates of up to 1,000 megabytes per second — impressive selling points for enterprises that are looking to limit the cost of an archiving project.

According to a joint press release from the LTO Program Technology Provider Companies, 148.3 exabytes (EB) of total tape capacity were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2022, a modest increase over the same period in 2021. 

By 2027, the aggregated capacity of LTO tapes is expected to total 207.1 EB. Meanwhile, worldwide shipments of hard drives have declined. Data centers and enterprises are relying on tapes more than ever. 

And given the sizable benefits of tape storage, the trend is understandable.

Data Tape Migration Limits Costs — And Significantly Improves Security

For buyers, the primary advantage of LTO-9 and other modern formats is cost: LTO-9 cartridges currently sell for about $0.004/GB, while the least expensive enterprise hard drives sell for about $0.006/GB. 

Tapes also have a longer storage life, which makes them preferable for archival projects. Perhaps most importantly, tapes are inherently ideal for air-gapped backups and archives — and given the growing threat of ransomware, air-gapped backups have become an essential security control. 

Many ransomware variants target backups, which can include tape systems. However, cloud and local backups are much more susceptible to typical ransomware attack vectors; data tapes, when employed appropriately, are a more robust solution.

But in order to enjoy the business benefits of tape storage, enterprises must handle migration carefully.

Migrating Data To Tape Requires A Thoughtful Approach

Switching from one tape format to another is rarely a straightforward process. While all LTO formats are backwards-compatible for read activities for at least one generation, changes in an enterprises’ backup and data organization strategies must be considered.

catalog of data storage tapesAnd since most enterprises “skip” generations to limit costs, they commonly face other issues when carrying out a tape migration project. Upgrading backup/archival software, sourcing tape drive hardware for older archives, and converting legacy data to current formats.

There’s another crucial factor to consider: Time. Few IT departments have the necessary staff to carry out a major tape migration project without sacrificing productivity in other areas. 

Tape migration requires a dedicated, knowledgeable staff. Errors can lead to significant security and privacy concerns, and a poorly documented migration can cause compliance issues.

Work With The Leader In Data Migration

Total Data Migration provides comprehensive services to assist enterprises in at-scale migration (and adoption) projects. From system design and implementation to legacy system retirement and tape disposal, we offer secure, compliant solutions.

Advantages of working with Total Data Migration:

  • Full support for over 3,000 native tape systems, backup formats, data types, and voice loggers.
  • Expert guidance for projects that involve multiple types of systems or data formats.
  • A dedicated staff for fast transitions between tape formats or for tape-to-cloud/cloud-to-tape migration.
  • Comprehensive chain-of-custody reports for worry-free compliance.
  • Data recovery options for restoring damaged or failed tapes.
  • Compliant data sanitization solutions for digital tape media, hard disk drives, optical media, and more.
  • An array of full-lifecycle services for managing (and maintaining) storage media.

Whether you’re planning a migration or addressing issues with your current backup/archive configuration, we’re ready to assist. With decades of experience and flexible service options, Total Data Migration provides the resources to create a secure, cost-effective strategy.

Send us a message to learn more or to schedule a consultation.