Ransomware risk takes magnetic tape sales to record levels

In mechanical hard drives, magnetism is the phenomenon used to store ones and zeros, but magnetism is also central to VHS and cassette tapes. For many users, hard drives have been replaced with SSDs, while movies and music are accessed through various streaming services. In data centers, however, both hard drives and magnetic tapes are common. It is now reported that the latter category sold a record amount in 2021.

HPE, IBM and Quantum, through the organization Ultrium LTO, are responsible for the report. LTO means Linear-Tape Open and is the standard used for many magnetic tapes and associated systems. In 2021, 148 exabytes (148,000,000 terabytes) of compressed capacity were sold, which is an increase of 35 percent compared to the previous record year 2019. In 2020, just over 100 exabytes were sold. With larger capacity per storage unit, however, the number of cassettes sold is less than in 2019.

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Magnetic tapes come with capacity specifications in both compressed and uncompressed versions, where the latest generation of LTO 9 products involve 45 and 18 TB of data on a single storage unit, respectively. The main use of magnetic tapes is for digital archives, which are often orchestrated by fully automated systems. Magnetic tape is a relatively inexpensive way to store a lot of information in a way that does not risk data loss over time, something that can happen with hard drives and SSDs without power.

LTO tape is arguably the lowest-cost, simplest method of achieving ransomware recovery best practices. Ransomware and malware are threats that will not go away. Magnetic tape is an established, understood, and proven technology that can be an invaluable tool for defeating ransomware. – Phil Goodwin, forskningsansvarig vid IDC

Phil Goodwin is head of research at the analysis company IDC and explains why the old technology is still being developed and is popular. Goodwin lifts that threat from ransomwareattacks make it more important to have backups. Blackmail attacks are something that has been frequently seen in the news flow in recent years and he believes that it will not change in the future, which is why magnetic tapes are a cost-effective and well-proven way to prepare for possible attacks.

Source: Ultrium LTO via Storagenewsletter

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