The Babbage Blog is featuring a post about the rise of magnetic tape storage in the age of Big Data. As the oldest computer storage medium still in use, the tape market is expecting a 3% rise this year.
Tape will never be the whole answer to storing data, according to Dr Evangelos Eleftheriou, manager of storage technologies at IBM’s research laboratory in Zurich. But it forms a crucial part of a “storage hierarchy”. At the top of this are so-called hot data, those that need to be available for immediate access. These are best held in flash memory. Lukewarm data—those that people need to look at frequently, but not instantaneously—are best stored on disks. Cold data, the stuff in long-term storage, can be recorded on tape. But this cold store is by far the biggest repository. A report published in 2008 by Andrew Leung of the University of California, Santa Cruz, found that in general 90% of an organisation’s data become cold after a couple of months.
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