Back to the Future: IBM’s Plan to Introduce Tape Storage within SoftLayer
by Erick Wingfield

For organizations seeking an alternative to current “Cold storage” offerings, IBM has come up with an interesting take on the matter: tape backups.

But wait, wasn’t cloud supposed to make tape backups obsolete? IBM says that tape storage still has a place in today’s data centers and IBM believes that its customers will use tape storage, in the cloud, because tape can be outfitted as a more economical way to store cold data.

Many organizations have a need to retain data, yet they may not need to access it regularly. An example would be an organization that is required to keep files for a certain amount of time before they are eventually discarded. Compliance regulations within several industries dictate these policies.

Another use for tape backups in the cloud would be archived security footage. Security video is not often accessed unless it needs to be. Therefore, there’s really no reason to store this data on a high speed SSD drive.

IBM is calling the tape storage endeavor Project Big Storage. IBM is still testing the project and it won’t likely be available to the general public for several months. IBM envisions tape storage in the cloud as being another way to compete with Microsoft and Amazon on cloud based cold storage options.

ITWorld reports that IBM has partnered with Iron Mountain in order to ensure corporate compliance in handling data on tape. ITWorld goes on to say that IBM will also use Iron Mountain’s facilities for this endeavor.

IBM is reported to have multiple tiers that customers can choose from. These tiers will allow organizations to choose the speed in which they need their cold storage thawed out. Some plans could give organizations access to data within minutes; lower costing plans would guarantee data delivery within a few hours. IBM is expected to release it’s tape backup solution through its Cloud Marketplace.