Wasabi vs. LTO

It’s been reported that in 2016, over 96,000 petabytes of LTO tape capacity shipped, and this was a 26% increase from the prior year. LTO tape is Linear Tape-Open, an open format technology used by many manufacturers. LTO tapes have been traditionally the long-term storage choice for a variety of industries, but especially in media and entertainment. It’s on-premise storage, and retrieval and playback are often done through robotic devices.

Although 96,000 petabytes is an astonishingly large number and demonstrates the staying power of some technologies, there are challenges in relying on tape for storage. It is not readily accessible; it requires a great deal of physical space, and it must be stored in environmentally-controlled environments. And, although the format is open, every few years, the manufacturers upgrade their equipment and only guarantee that the two prior generations of tape will be compatible with the latest hardware. That means that data from generation 5 can’t be read on the latest generation 8 equipment. Which means that every few years, all of those many petabytes of data stored on tape must be transferred over to the latest equipment iteration. A major reason why customers stick with LTO tape storage, despite these drawbacks, is that the cost per gigabyte of tape storage has until recently been so low that no other competing storage media can match.

That’s where Wasabi advantages over tape become apparent. First, Wasabi’s costs per gigabyte are cost-competitive with LTO, especially when considerations like space and power are taken into account. Unlike tape, Wasabi is hot storage, which means that it’s readily accessible whenever it’s needed. Why would someone take their tape and place it in a salt mine, rendering it at best difficult to retrieve and at worst untouchable for long-term storage when it could be stored online, in Wasabi’s cloud?

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