Revisiting the Search for Long-Term Storage -- A TCO Analysis of Tape and Disk

The Clipper Group, a 20-year old computer industry analyst firm, inde-pendently funded a total-cost-of-owner-ship (TCO) study to compare the costs of backend storage on high-capacity SATA/SAS disks and LTO tape for holding archived data. This is the fourth iteration of this TCO study and is in many ways an update to the one done in 2010. The study's goal was to de-termine the relative economic rela-tionship of the cost of storing archived data on disk versus tape in a large en-terprise over a forward-looking nine-year period, which was long enough to reach long-term conclusions. We found that the average cost for a disk-based backend storage solution costs about 26 times as much as the average cost of a tape-based solution using an automated tape library (ATL). This is not a declaration that tape is better than disk, as each serves a valuable purpose in archiving and you probably need a mixture of the two.

Sponsor: Ultrium LTO Consortium