The “Chill Factor” in a Secured Backup and Archive Solution

by Nov 21, 2019air-gap, Archive, Archive Storage, Backup, CMMA Blog, cold data, Data Protection, data storage, Hybrid Storage, LTO Tape Libraries, tape0 comments

The topic of data growth and security continues to be a challenge for many
organizations. The question to “air-gap” or not to “air-gap” is consistently
being posed across all industries as they think about a solid backup and
archive strategy. When it comes to how and where to invest, air-gapping becomes
the last item on the checklist, and understandably so. Data keeps growing and
while budgets may increase slightly, IT resources are forecasted to stay flat,
according to IDC. With so many avant-garde technologies out there, it seems
tape is shrinking in its usage. However, tape’s unique ability (despite its
advanced age) to morph into a sustainably green, secure, and very
cost-effective alternative to other backup and archive solutions allows it to
stay relevant – even over cloud alternatives. I’d say a rebound could be on the

So, what is the chill factor?

As in weather, the wind chill will determine how cold it actually feels on
your skin when the wind is factored in. Likewise, organizations today must
understand their data to determine how hot or cold it is to leverage the
appropriate storage solution that is efficient yet cost effective. Much of the
data in more expensive primary storage is cold. Cold data is simply
infrequently used data. IDC estimates that about 40% of the 7.5 ZB of data will
be commercially related and of that, about 60% will be cold
data or data with expected retrieval of greater than 30 days. This data is a
perfect candidate for tape storage in your data center or in the cloud. And
hey, cold storage doesn’t require a lot of power and cooling.


Tape continues to be the de facto to secure your cold storage/long-term
data. Fact is, the physical air-gap between tapes and the network simply does
not allow malware/ransomware or hackers to break through to reach offline data.
The goal of these evil agents is to destabilize and destroy the ability to
self-recover, and then demand a ransom. We’ve heard many stories and companies
go out of business because of the vulnerability of keeping all data online.
While any online data can be destroyed by an eventual hacker, the data stored
securely on tape is untouched with its integrity intact.

Considering both costs and damage created by these attacks, plus the
astronomical hit on your resources and valuable time that could be spent on
managing critical data, there are more than enough reasons to create the best
protection of your critical data on tape. Sure, you can keep cold data on hot
disk, but the best approach is to tier it off to the most cost-effective
alternative – tape. That’s why we highly recommend the 3-2-1-1 approach to
protection. At the end of the day, what matters is “are you able to recover?”.
If your data is chilled, there is no reason to tremble.


Determining the value of your data will help you understand the eventual
storage solution required. Never underestimate the value of your historical
data. We live in a world where our “always online” way of life opens the
door to a barrage of threats. The good news is, economics is on your side. Tape
is still the lowest cost for storage available today, and the foreseeable
future. At less than $50/TB, as long as data is preserved on tape, it will give
you the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).

Taking these factors into consideration will bring a tiering approach to
your backup and archive strategy and enable the proper protection approach for
the type of data in need of saving, cooling, and securing.

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