Tape Is Your Last Line of Defense Against Ransomware, But There Are Other Best Practices for Protecting Your Data
Encryption is a great way to keep data secure, but sometimes it can be used against us. Yes, we’re talking about ransomware. According to Statista, “preventing malware, including ransomware” is ranked as the second most pressing cyber security issue in 2017, according to IT security professionals worldwide, just after “identifying vulnerabilities.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been updating a number of technical documents about how LTO-7 and soon to be released LTO-8 have made quantum leaps in both capacity (recording density) and data reliability. During this process, I thought back to the days of old when we old-timers were just getting started, before data storage became a specialty. It’s somewhat mind-boggling how far data recording has progressed in recent years. Back in the day, the maximum data capacity of a 2,400-foot 9-track tape reel, recorded at 6,250 BPI was 170 MB. Today LTO-7 recording density is 19,107 bits/mm, which equates to 477,675 BPI, providing 6 TB per cartridge on a 3,400-foot piece of media—and LTO-8 is projected to have 12 TB per cartridge. Truly amazing!
Today, everyone seems to understand the ever-growing importance of data protection, often viewing it as a superset of backup combined with snapshots and replication. Typically, a conversation about data protection includes the assumption of a “gold standard” centered on using secondary disk for rapid recovery and tertiary tape for long term retention. Of course, “the cloud” also is always a consideration as part of the next generation of the solution. It’s still all under the banner of “data protection” (DP), the collection of activities, methods, and media used to help recover or restore business information after a crisis or other IT disruption. According to research, primary storage is growing around 40% annually, with secondary storage used for data protection growing at similar rates. Budgets aren’t growing nearly that much. Meanwhile, IT organizations are being asked to do more (i.e., inject more agility, functionality, and resiliency into their operations) while spending as little budget money as possible. In actuality, data protection budgets are growing around 4.6% annually according to ESG research, but that level of increase won’t even let you keep doing what you have been doing at a larger scale.Therefore, you have to do something different. What you should do: ARCHIVE!
Yes – you saw that correctly. The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (of which Quantum is one of three TPCs) has published their updated road map and it shows a stunning potential of 120 TB per single cartridge for generation 10 of LTO technology. That is 600 times the capacity released for the first generation of LTO technology. The road map announcement is timely as the IBC show takes place this week and the theme of that show is “Content Everywhere”. While IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) is a vertically oriented event (broadcast vertical), the theme is relevant across many industries. How many of you are not in the broadcast industry but are experiencing a huge swell in the amount of content under management in your own organization?
Contrary to popular belief, how you archive matters more than what or why you archive. For the broad market, the notion of non-archived data has become antiquated. Getting rid of old data means taking the time or investing in resources required to decide what data can be deleted, and most data managers do not feel comfortable making those decisions. So today virtually everything is being stored forever, generating huge repositories of data and content, and creating a great urgency to establish a data storage architecture that will thrive in this new “store everything forever” era.
Let’s face it: primary storage vendors love anyone who will keep infrequently accessed data on primary storage. These customers are like money in the bank, and the last thing a primary storage vendor wants is for those customers to wise up and break the chains that bind enterprises to their current storage investment model.
I read a good article in SearchDataBackup recently on an interview Sarah Wilson conducted with Jon Toigo on LTFS (Linear Tape File System). LTFS is an open standard technology that allows you to use tape like NAS – drag and drop files to and from the tape, quickly access them from a directory on your screen, easily exchange them between different operating systems and software, etc. The interview provides a good overview of LTFS and where it’s being used, and he also shoots down some of the misconceptions about tape that I often hear.