IBM Upgrades Its 'Big Data' Tape, Archiving Lineup

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-05-11 Print this article Print

Big Blue introduces exabyte-capable tape libraries to handle backup and archiving for massive data sets.

Perhaps it was coincidence and perhaps not, but IBM just happened to come out this week with a major new Big Data storage product launch at exactly the same time as competing storage giant EMC is holding its big annual conference in Las Vegas, which is titled "Cloud Meets Big Data."

Big Blue on May 9 announced a set of new products involving tape storage backup, enhanced archiving and deduplication that aim to help clients better store and extract business intelligence from massive amounts of data.

Something should be clarified before we go any further here: The increasingly used term "Big Data" does not refer to volume alone. "Big Data" also signifies the wide number of data types that need to be stored, archived, protected and accessed, whether they are created by humans or generated from devices.

Tape Still an Important Asset

Tape may be a 1950s-era technology (IBM invented magnetic tape in 1952), but it is still a major player in enterprise data storage, no matter what the spinning disk hard drive storage makers say. Analysts who track such things generally agree that between 50 and 60 percent of all the world's businesses that maintain digital records have tape in the mix somewhere.

"IBM has an edge over storage vendors like EMC that don't support tape," Doug Balog, general manager of IBM's storage business unit, told eWEEK. "Tape and disk can be used together to deliver to clients tiered storage that enables them to store data within the different tiers based on their data priorities."

"For those of you who think tape has no future, please take note of the following quote from James Gleick's very worthwhile new book 'The Information,'" wrote Mesabi Group analyst David Hill in Charles King's May 11 Pund-IT report. "'Hardly any information technology goes obsolete. Each new one throws its predecessors into relief.' In the context of IBM's announcements, tape is likely to continue to play a key role in the backup process and to pick up new business, especially in providing bulk storage for active archiving.

"All things considered, tape continues to be more cost effective for those processes than disk-based solutions, as has been shown by one or more studies for each area."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel