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Google teams with Iron Mountain for LTO-to-cloud migration

Tape still not dead: it will die in the year N where N is this year plus 1

Google and Iron Mountain are trying to hasten the never-quite-imminent death of tape as a storage medium with an LTO-to-cloud migration collaboration.

LTO – linear tape open for those among you not enamoured of rusty ribbons – is a standard tape format that counts IBM, HP and Quantum among its backers. A single seventh-generation LTO cartridge can store 15 terabytes and the standard plans a tenth-generation cartridge packing 120 terabytes.

Google, however, operates a service called Cloud Storage Nearline that starts at US$0.01 per gigabyte per month and promises three-second restore times. That's rather faster than even a high-end tape library will achieve.

There's just one problem with Nearline and that's the loooong time needed to move a terabyte of data from tape to the cloud. Google's addressed that problem with “cloud seeding”, the practice of finding partners with fat pipes to its bit barns and the kit to arrange uploads. One such partner, Iron Mountain, has just announced it's increased the bandwidth from its bit barns to Google's by a factor of ten. That increase, Google says, means “moving 50TB of data over the expanded link takes less than a day.”

Iron Mountain has also added the ability to consume LTO tapes and send their contents over its embiggened links to Google. Which means those tired of waiting for tapes to restore, or tired of the effort required to tend and feed tape, now have a rather easier and faster way to store their data.

When Google launched Nearline, it gave away 100 petabytes of storage to launch the service. This time it's giving away US$500 in credit to those who sign up with Iron Mountain. Sadly that's a US-only offer, those in other territories need to ask Prime Focus Technologies if it can help.

Either way, Google's just made its intention towards tape perfectly clear. The death of tape has been predicted a zillion times, but it seems that death will happen in the year N where N is this year plus 1. Google and Iron Mountain are being very aggressive here, but just as the cloud won't entirely see off on-premises kit El Reg imagines plenty of organisations will find reasons to keep using on-premises tape for a long time to come. ®


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