DCIG, LLC Announces Big Data Tape Library Buyers Guide

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Newest resource guide provides in-depth look at more than 60 solutions as big data and cloud drive renaissance of tape market.

“Make no mistake, enterprises need cost-effective storage solutions capable of meeting both Big Data and Cloud computing requirements, and in most cases, tape is the preferred solution,” said Molly Rector, Spectra Logic.

For years, many in the storage industry have been hearing of tape’s demise. “Tape is Dead,” is a popular refrain, spoken loudest from those promoting disk-based backup and archive as “the” purpose built solution for all things storage. The reality is far from the truth, with tape experiencing a renaissance and driving many company’s best practices in modern data protection.

Much of the reemergence of tape is driven by the explosion of storage requirements to address “Big Data” and the “Cloud,” where data is referential, unstructured or in many cases infrequently accessed, leaves IT managers turning to tape as the most cost-effective and viable alternative. Coupled with on-going regulatory compliance and recent high profile business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) needs where in one case, Google lost 0.9 percent of its mailboxes due to disk-based replication corruption and the corrupted mailboxes were recovered from tape, and tape is experiencing a renaissance.

The issue facing most end users today, with many traditional analyst firms consigning tape coverage to niche segments or vertical market coverage such as the media and entertainment industry, is where to find information to make the best selection for their specific needs? With this gap in mind, DCIG set out to evaluate and score appropriate options to help end users with a quick, easy, at-a-glance resource guide of several of the industry’s leading Big Data tape library solutions. The intent with this Buyer’s Guide, as with all DCIG Buyer’s Guides, is to provide an apples-to-apples comparison so end users can select the most appropriate solution to best meet their needs.

The Inaugural DCIG 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyer’s Guide is the first and only authoritative compilation of the industry’s leading tape-based solutions. As with all Buyer’s Guides, this guide is not intended to be a substitute for internal testing or to tell IT managers which solution to buy. Rather it is to help guide end users in coming up with a list of competitive products that have comparable features that may meet their specific needs. Once the list has been compiled, we recommend in-house testing to ensure a solution best meets an IT organization’s particular workloads.

For the DCIG 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyers’ Guide, DCIG looked at 140 key features from more than 60 tape library solutions from eight of the leading storage providers, and then created a survey, which was shared with each storage provider included in the Buyer’s Guide. To ensure the information provided in the Buyer’s Guide was accurate and up-to-date, DCIG provided each vendor with a copy of their respective data sheets without the scores or rankings to validate what features their tape library system model or models supported.

After the surveys and data sheets were completed and returned, each vendor’s responses and updates were checked against publicly available data. Features were then weighted, scored and ranked either “Best-in-Class,” “Recommended,” “Excellent,” “Good,” and “Basic”. The features were then compiled into individual product data sheets that reflect how each product supports these features.

“The fact of the matter is many organizations, both large and small, use tape libraries as either their primary or secondary target for backup,” said Jerome Wendt, co-author and founder, DCIG, LLC. “Based on the feedback received during the research for our latest Buyer’s Guide, this will likely persist for the foreseeable future. However, it was tape’s future role within the evolving storage landscape specific to Big Data and Cloud for active archiving of unstructured file data which was most interesting. We fully expect this Buyer’s Guides to do what all our others have done to date, help end users eliminate time, energy and wasted effort to find the most appropriate tape-based Big Data solution before they do a hands-on or deeper evaluation.”

For inclusion in the DCIG 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyer’s Guide, each storage solution must have met the following criteria:

  •     Support a minimum of 24 tape cartridge slots
  •     Support at least two tape drives
  •     Support LTO-4 or later technology
  •     Shipping by March 1, 2012

The DCIG 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyer’s Guide Top solutions include (in alphabetical order): HP ESL G3 1500-slot, IBM TS3500, Oracle Sun StorageTek SL500, Quantum Scalar i6000, Spectra Logic T-Finity and Spectra Logic T950.

Of the evaluated Big Data Tape Library solutions, the Spectra Logic T-Finity and SpectraLogic T950 achieved the only “Best-In-Class” rankings in their respective categories. In comparison to other solutions, highlights of the “Best-in-Class” ranking included:

  •     Had redundant robotics
  •     Scale to hold petabytes of data
  •     Support 1,000 or more tape cartridge slots
  •     Support a tape format other than LTO
  •     Support all major archival and backup software products
  •     Support at least 18 tape drives

“Make no mistake, enterprises need cost-effective storage solutions capable of meeting both Big Data and Cloud computing requirements, and in most cases, tape is the preferred solution,” said Molly Rector, Executive Vice President Product Management and Worldwide Marketing, Spectra Logic. “The DCIG 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyer’s Guide ranks the Spectra Logic T-Finity and T950 as the leading Tape Library storage solutions, with comprehensive support for both traditional and the latest features that users want in a Big Data tape solution today.”

Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG identified 8 plus companies that provide Big Data Tape Library solutions. Each provider was given the opportunity to complete a survey that examined how its solution delivered on use in Big Data environments, support for Linear Tape-Open Technology, Performance and pricing, administration, and technical support. Also, if specific features were supported and how well they were implemented contribute to specific category scores as well as an overall score for each Big Data Tape Library. In every case every vendor had the opportunity to review and respond to the survey and the information regarding their product displayed on the data sheets included in this Buyer’s Guide.

DCIG also spoke to various end-users to get a sense of how they would weigh their needs in these various areas. We then evaluated the vendors’ capabilities by applying weighting indicated from our conversations with these end-users. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer’s Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and other publicly available information.

The DCIG 2012 Big Data tape Library Buyer's Guide is available immediately and may be downloaded for no charge with registration at the following link:



DCIG Blog: http://www.dcig.com

About DCIG
DCIG, LLC, is an analyst firm with headquarters in Texas, focusing on archive, backup, retrieval and storage systems. DCIG’s analysts blend analysis, journalism, advertising and marketing into compelling blog entries at http://www.dciginc.com as well as journalistic writings with leading trade and industry publications. DCIG’s goal is to provide evaluations and interview content on sponsoring and non-sponsoring companies to consumers, public relations firms, business analysts and other companies. DCIG distributes industry, company and product analysis by way of viral marketing and community building using the burgeoning BLOG infrastructures created worldwide.

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Jim Nash
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