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Making Cents of Storage TCO


Tape offers one of the lowest price-per-terabyte for any type of storage, so it’s no wonder that 60% of customers still use tape for backup. Let’s take a closer look at the economics of tape with the help of independent studies and customer use cases.

A recent webinar on backup by the Gartner Analyst Group reported that 60% of customers are using tape as part of their backup methodology. While backing up directly to tape is on a downward trajectory, according to the analysts at Gartner there is a pronounced growth in disk to disk to tape (D2D2T) backup.

We are certainly seeing this trend at HPE. An increasing number of our customers are realizing the value oTCO Tape Storage Blog.jpgf a tiered data protection architecture that balances the performance of HPE StoreOnce systems with the economics and retention benefits of HPE StoreEver.

Printing press manufacturer Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is a great example of a company that is saving time, money and reducing risk by adopting a comprehensive approach to data protection that spans software, disk and tape.

Heidelberg recently deployed a combined hardware and software solution comprising an HPE StoreEver MSL6480 Tape Library, HPE Data Protector Software 9.0 and the HPE StoreOnce 4900 with data deduplication technology. This all HPE solution has enabled the company to create backups and restores more flexibly than ever before.

So cost remains one of the key drivers for tape’s ongoing value – both for D2DT use cases as well as long term archive. But conflicting Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) benefit claims for tape and disk still create controversy in the industry.

So in an attempt to shed more light on the debate, I wanted to share with you the findings of two recent analyst TCO models that compare the economics of tape with disk for long term data retention.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) defined

Any credible TCO discussion starts with a specification of its components. TCO can be simply defined as the initial purchase costs of an asset which are capitalized (CAPEX) plus the on-going costs of ownership and operation (OPEX). 

CAPEX for on premise storage solutions typically include one-time buy items such as hardware, software licenses, planning, installation and training. Operating expenses for on premise storage comprise periodic costs incurred over time such as floor space operating cost, hardware maintenance contracts, software support contracts, power consumption (power and cooling) and personnel expense.

The initial capital expense (“short-term price”) of a storage system often gets an excessive level of focus from most buyers when choosing among alternatives in a purchasing decision. This is despite the fact that operating expenses can often contribute most to the total cost of ownership (“long-term price”) of many storage solutions. 

StoreEver tape delivers lowest TCO for long-term archive

This is amply demonstrated by a Clipper Group analyst report that compares the TCO of an on premise disk array and a LTO-7 tape library for long term archiving. Using a nine-year TCO model the study concluded that the average disk solution (including CAPEX and OPEX costs) costs more than 6 times the average tape solution and requires 2x more floor space. The average disk solution was found to consume 110x more energy than the average tape storage solution—with the cost of energy and floor space alone for the average disk-based solution approximates the entire TCO for the average tape-based solution!

Containing costs: LTO tape delivers 85% cost savings compared to disk

Slide TCO Blog.jpg

A new ESG analyst study reports that in a typical large-scale data retention usage scenario, LTO solutions can yield nearly $13.5M in estimated cost savings over a ten-year time horizon. That’s a 577% return on investment over 10 years. Additionally, ESG discovered that in the given situation the annual total cost of ownership (TCO) for an LTO tape solution generates a significant 85% savings compared to a present mode of operation representative of all-disk storage.

Taking a tiered approach

So what is the value of combining disk and tape for backup and archive in your organization?

A key benefit lies in the fact that the value of data changes over time. For example, studies have shown that 95% of data is never accessed again beyond 90 days after it is created.

Keeping all of your data on high speed disk might suit your data access needs, but to do so could be prohibitively expensive in terms of both hardware purchases and the cost of power, cooling and physical space.

It makes more sense to store data that requires fast retrieval on disk, while moving less frequently accessed data – or content that needs to be retained for compliance, repurposing or monetization purposes – to a lower cost tape tier.

In other words, the ideal approach to data protection and archive is to match the access, retention and cost requirements of data with the right storage technology. And in most cases this will require a tiered approach: one that blends the access speeds of disk with the low cost, off-line and long shelf life benefits of tape.

Learn more 

Watch this overview video on HPE StoreEver MSL5480:


Dig deeper:

HEIDELBERG simplifies backups and restores flexibility case study

Powerful data protection from HPE StoreOnce solution brochure



Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Simon Watkins, WW Product Marketing Manager Backup, Recovery and Archive (BURA), HPE Storage.

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