Re: Eliminating tape
Tape is barely acceptable for only some of the long-term retention use cases. I tried in vain this past summer to find a DLT based library with new drives to scan a couple of million archive tapes only to be severely disappointed by the lack of a hardware market for these obsolete drives. Resellers offered used and re-manufactured drives but told me that I needed to get a large supply of spares, and be preparred for downtime between drive mis-behavior, diagnostic, replacement and verification. And oh yah, your replacement might have gone bad, so start the cycle all over again.
And some of the US regs in the health and drug industries are going to require lifetime plus 10 retention periods. Think of the impact of 300 million citizens with hundreds of HC records; factor in population growth and there you go... a problem prime for a better solution...
So here are some of the issues with tape:
1. Tape vendors will not guarantee supply or even 15-year backwards compatibility, let alone be able to cope with projected 100+ year retention requirements on the horizon.
2. DB vendors do a nice job of saying that it can process old releases of DBs. But if your programming bits, hardware and OS bits are different; can you absolutely gurantee the same result today compared to the day when it was created?
3. Tape is linear and offline stored, if you need to access the last block on a many tapes, it could take days, weeks, or even months to re-assemble a file system.
4. And when you have hundreds, thousands to millions of tapes; there really are no effecctive solutions to regularly read-in, re-validate bits, delete, re-write, and the data files. Some software solutions say they do logical deletes, but don't have a efficient way to do physical deletes.
5. Application reality... you may start off with good intentions with a tape solution, people change, priorities change, and it gets too easy to get lazy and a tape solution grows, gets stale, backup/archive meta-data gets lost or obsolete. And then your stuck with a bunch of tape that you are paying a fortune to store.
6. Tape bits degrade over time and are not periodically scanned or rebuilt.
7. Tape don't dedupe
8. In a world of cheap spinning rust; putting anything, ANYTHING on tape is just plain STUPID.
And any IT Professional that puts anything on tape should be drawn and quartered. Horses make nice pets and should be around for a long time.