02 Jan The Market for Tape-Based Backup & Storage
The tape backup naysayers will always try to crash the party, but we know better. Tape is not only not going anywhere anytime soon, but we like many other members of the storage community expect tape backup to continue to expand. To cite a specific source, Simon Watkins of HP Storage intimated the site of tape media, including drives and automation was over $1 billion in the first half of 2012. In fact, the LTO tape media industry had a growth trajectory of 12% YOY in 2012 reaching a record-breaking 10,000 petabytes for the first six months of 2012. Tape still dwarfs external disks in total demand. Since 2001–the year LTO-1 was first introduced, over 4,300,000 drives have been sold and well over 200,000,000 LTO tape drives have hit the market. That’s a huge number, especially given the margins for some tape suppliers.
Tape Growth and Expansion
The short story is that tape is going nowhere. It’s here to stay and is expected to grow up to 15% YOY over the next half-decade. Here are some areas where tape will see a resurgence:
- The desire for cost-cutting within organizations will create a vacuum for inexpensive backup and storage solutions, which is great for things like refurbished tapes.
- There is a tail on the growth curve. Many companies are not looking for the latest and greatest. In fact, most are on the end tail, not the early adopter tail of the petabyte tapes, let alone the petabyte disk arena. In fact, the majority of the market is simply seeking for the cost-effective solution that fits within the technology they already have–which at this point is only tape.
- Big data means big purchases of tape-based media. I recently read an article that indicated that Amazon is currently adding the same amount of capacity every day that it was using the power the entire company in 2002. The same type of growth is going on in all areas where digital media needs stored. It’s growing and tapes will be a very big part of that curve
Tape-based media backup and storage has a bright future–at least in the near term. The coming year will be an interesting one to watch to see the volume of purchases and how everything shakes out.