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Updated Fujfilm TCO Tool - April, 2024

Significant changes in the storage marketplace have occurred since the last tool refresh. This update includes new LTO 9 tape drive, library, and media prices.  In addition, disk pricing and power costs have been updated to account for today’s higher-capacity HDDs. Cloud storage costs were not changed. Power and bandwidth costs have also been updated to reflect current market prices. After all the changes, the results were very similar to the prior version. In the 20 PB default case, the ten-year tape TCO savings versus disk storage declined slightly to 75% versus 79%, while the savings versus cloud also declined slightly from 72% to 70%. Every environment is going to be different. Many variables on the Optional inputs tab provide the ability to customize the analysis to widely different environments. Some of the variables on Optional input tabs include power ($kWh), Storage Management FTS cost, the ratio of tape media cartridges to tape drive, and many others. The new version of the tool can be accessed at Fujifilm TCO tool

Security Surveillance

Updated Video Surveillance Retention Cost Calculator - April 4, 2022

The Video Surveillance TCO calculator has been updated to include the new LTO 9 tape media and drives! Video surveillance (VS) has rapidly grown into an essential solution for organizations large and small. VS technology has evolved quickly, and today’s cameras feature very high resolution at attractive prices. With the proliferation of high-resolution cameras, the quantify of video has grown exponentially. Tape storage, integrated with disk-based storage, provides a lower cost, highly scalable solution for video surveillance. The updated tool can be accessed at this link.


Is tape really Eco-Friendly? - Video Roundtable

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion hosted by Fujifllm to discuss whether tape storage is really "Eco Friendly." Participants included two large users of tape storage, Fujifilm, IBM, and me. All the participants organizations had established aggressive sustainability goals to help address climate change. The discussion was wide-ranging and highlighted tapes role in helping data centers store very large quantities of data while reducing their CO2e emissions. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, moving cold data to tape can significantly lower total costs.  Here is a link to the video; Eco Friendly.      



August 2022


Industry analysts estimate that the amount of data stored may grow to 17 zettabytes (ZB) by 2025. They also believe that 60-80% of the data stored on HDDs is cold data. Moving this static data to tape storage represents a real opportunity for organizations with large amounts of information to reduce their environmental footprint and reduce their TCO. Partnering with Fujifilm, I’ve authored a white paper that reviews this opportunity in detail. It can be found at this link.  

Improving IT Sustainability with Modern Tape Storage
New Version of Fujifilm TCO Tool Available!

April 4, 2022


The new LTO 9 tape drives and media have been added to the TCO tool! The ten-year TCO is now based on LTO 9 with a future migration to LTO 11 in year 6. Industry disk pricing and power costs have been updated to account for today’s higher-capacity HDDs. Power and bandwidth costs have also been updated to reflect current market prices. Two new optional inputs have been added to the tool; PUE, the (Power Utilization Effectiveness) factor that applies to both tape and disk – the range is from 1.2 to 2.0 with two being the default. A flexible PUE factor reflects the increasing emphasis on improving IT sustainability. Traditionally data centers have had a PUE of two, they used as much or more power on cooling and distribution as by the IT equipment. The other new variable is the percentage of the time the tape equipment is active. This new variable supports an activity range from 0 to 100% and effects the tape storage energy consumption. An active archive would drive the activity level up while a deep archive would have a lower activity level. The new tool can be found at Fujifilm TCO Tool.

Understanding Video Surveillance Retention Costs

April 6, 2021


Video surveillance (VS) has rapidly grown into an essential solution for organizations large and small. VS technology has evolved quickly, and today’s cameras feature very high resolution at attractive prices. With the proliferation of high-resolution cameras, the quantify of video has grown exponentially. Traditional VS solutions have utilized hard disk drives for storing all the video. However, new solutions support tape storage in addition to disk. Tape storage is very cost-effective and space-efficient. Using tape makes it possible for a VS system to keep more video longer in a cost-effective solution. The VS TCO calculator estimates the cost of a 100% disk solution versus a tiered solution.  The new tool supports a wide range of cameras, camera quantities and retention periods. It can be access at: VS TCO

Nov 18, 2020


Reducing carbon emissions is a significant global challenge. Many companies have decided they must incorporate carbon reductions into their strategies and have announced green initiatives. Data centers are a significant consumer of electricity. One opportunity for reducing energy consumption and resulting carbon emissions is moving inactive data from disk storage to tape storage. Industry analysts estimate that 60% of the data stored on disk storage is infrequently accessed.  We estimate that by moving 10 PB of "cold data" that is growing 35% annually from disk to tape storage, an 87% reduction in carbon emission and an 86% reduction in TCO can be achieved over ten years. IT organizations have a significant opportunity to achieve meaningful carbon emissions reductions while lowering operational and capital expenses.

Apr 7, 2020

In early March, before conferences of all types across the country shut down and social distancing was mandated, I was sitting in a conference room in Albuquerque, New Mexico, attending the Storage Technology Showcase 2020 and it struck me, I was surrounded by power users. Many of the participants were storage users who push the capabilities of data storage technology to the limit. Every industry has power users; in the automotive industry, it is those that demand the fastest and highest performing cars. Think of NASCAR or the 24 hours of Le Mans. The drivers push race cars to their limits. For data storage, the power users for storage are the organizations that perform high-performance computing. 

Several of the presentations were from storage managers at super computing centers that performed research in energy and weather systems. They highlighted the demanding storage environments for high-performance computing. In practice, this means a lot of flash, a lot of disk, and massive quantities of tape connected via high-speed networks. For example, to support the existing Cray XC-40 and coming Perlmutter supercomputers, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) 2020 storage architecture includes more than 30 PB of flash, 340 PB of disk, and .5 EB of tape storage.

One of the themes of the conference was the importance of tape storage in cost-effectively managing massive amounts of archive data. For example, the European Centre for medium-range weather forecasts (ECMWF) has over 450 PB of archive data stored on tape and adds another 260 TB/Day. At these capacity points, tape storage is essential not only for financial reasons but also for other features: volumetric efficiency, a long media life and energy savings.

A surprising presentation was Western Digital Corporation’s “Tape to the future presentation." While most of us think of WDC as an HDD and Flash company, the presentation highlighted the potential of dramatic growth in the amount of data stored on tape in the coming decade. This growth will be driven by the growth of archive data in hyper-scale data centers. To meet these needs, several cost, packaging, performance, and storage architecture requirements were suggested. 

The final theme that several presentations touched on was the challenge of migrating storage infrastructure to new technology while maintaining service levels. Migrations present a host of challenges, and different approaches were taken due to widely differing environments and history.

Given the substantial amounts of data stored and the value of the information, a great deal of planning was done, and the migration process spanned months, or even years. 

Overall, it was a very informative conference with a wealth of real-world user case studies and information on storage technology from important suppliers. The conference agenda and presentations can be found here: STS2020.  While the digital data explosion continues, technology is rapidly evolving  to help organizations manage the challenge effectively.

Interested in the history of IBM Data Tape Storage?

Aug 2, 2017

The Computer History Museum ( ) just released the video history of IBM tape storage including the IBM 3480 (introduced in 1984), tape media , an overview of tape and tape product management  and LTO tape (introduced in 2000). The interviews include current and former IBM development, business and marketing personnel that participated these projects.  

If you’re interested in the history of this storage technology, then these interviews will provide a very informative and entertaining education on the evolution of tape storage. They are not short, so break out the popcorn, find a comfortable chair and enjoy!

NAB Show Thought Gallery: Boost Your Efficiencies with LTO Tape Technology and LTFS

Apr 16, 2017

As the Media and Entertainment industry has decisively moved to file based workflows and the cost-effective capture, protection, distribution and archive of digital content has become paramount. This webinar discusses how end-users and suppliers have incorporated LTO tape technology and LTFS into their workflows to meet these requirements. A description of LTFS is provided and real use-case examples of LTO tape and LTFS in industry workflows are described along with an outline of the solution benefits. The presentation can be found at Pre-NAB Webinar on LTO with LTFS in Media and Entertainment.

Bending the Cost Curve - Leveraging Tape to Deliver Budget Savvy Data Storage
Reducing Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions with Modern Tape Storage

Jun 1, 2014

Have more data than budget for storage? Are you looking for ways to reduce the cost of data storage? Then the BrightTalk webcast “Bending the Cost Curve: Leverage Tape Technology to Deliver Business Value with Jon Toigo might be of interest. Some of the highlights of the web cast were: The growth of digital data is projected to grow at over 40% per year, and highly virtualized environments are reporting growth of over 300% per year. However, studies suggest that as much as 40% of the data residing on Tier 1 storage has not been accessed in over 6 months. Moving this “stale” data from primary storage to tape storage, may significantly reduce overall storage costs.

Jon discussed tools and techniques, including new storage offerings, that take advantage of tape storage to lower overall storage costs. We also had an enjoyable "Between Two LUN's" question and answer session that touched on Cloud Storage, the changing role of tape, and the relative total cost of ownership of tape storage solutions versus high capacity disk system.

Reflections on Storage Technology Showcase 2020
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