As enterprises tap into cloud resources and undertake fundamental digital transformation initiatives, many are in a quandary over how to better manage the growing volumes of data being created and how best
to protect the data that needs to be retained. Not all archived data needs to reside in the cloud, however. A hybrid storage strategy can ensure that data is protected and preserved, yet is still available and accessible.
Enterprises that are running legacy environments to access tape storage are looking for relief. A recent survey by IDG Research indicates that while a large majority of enterprises are pondering the movement of legacy data into the cloud, they're also struggling with perceived obstacles as they seek to mitigate risk and reduce the cost of ownership.
Tape storage carries hefty weight
Tape has long been the medium of choice for longerterm backup, archival, and protection of data. According to the LTO Program, "approximately 90% of Fortune 500 companies have tape implemented in their infrastructures." The Tape Storage Council declares that "both LTO (Linear Tape Open) and enterprise tape products continue to deliver unprecedented storage capacities per cartridge with the lowest total cost of ownership compared with all other existing storage solutions."
"Nothing is more cost-effective, reliable, or energy-efficient for long-term data retention than a tape in a library slot or on a shelf, and it continues to play a key role for organizations across the globe," the technology research firm Enterprise Strategy Group writes in a white paper
Yet the IDG Research survey finds that 86% of respondents say it is challenging to locate and restore legacy data from tape. For 68% of the respondents, it takes anywhere from a day to five days to locate a single document or piece of information from tapestorage running on legacy systems internally.
The survey targeted IT leaders at companies with 1,000 or more employees. 48% of the respondents were C-level executives, and 26% were either directors or vice presidents.
The biggest challenge of tape management, say 63% of those polled, is the time investment that pulls staff away from other responsibilities and opportunities; 57% cite the cost of maintaining legacy backup systems. Lack of staff, poor data classifications or indexing systems, and converting data to the required formats are each cited as challenges by 46% of respondents.
Overwhelmed by frequency
Anticipation of the cloud may be obscuring fundamental flaws in strategic data management. With a substantial majority of survey respondents indicating they have had to restore legacy data from tape storage within the past year, it's likely that they are not adequately delineating their storage needs among the tape, disk, and cloud options available to them.
The survey indicates that enterprises are relying on tape retrieval more frequently than they should be. The predominant cause of frequency is compliance and audits (62%), followed by the need to transfer data to another storage option such as cloud (59%). Legal/eDiscovery is also a frequent need, say 52% of respondents.