Vendors Secure Tape’s Future

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Rumors of tape’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Despite lost data tapes and a growing list of disk backup options, tape remains a key part of archiving and disaster recovery strategies (see Why Tape Won’t Die).

Just this week, IBM and Sun Microsystems announced plans to make tape more secure with drive-level encryption, and Quantum CEO Rick Belluzzo went on the road to discuss his company’s plans for its recent acquisition of ADIC.

The tape devices and systems market is $8 billion and growing at a steady if unspectacular 4 percent a year, according to Quantum and Gartner. That said, the disk recovery and recovery management software markets are $5 billion each and growing at 12 percent to 14 percent a year. Not surprisingly, disk plays a big role in Quantum’s growth plans, with an integrated disk-based platform with data de-duplication and replication expected by the end of the year.

But tape remains a big part of Quantum’s plans, both DLT and LTO. Quantum also plans to integrate its Storage Care Guardian with ADIC’s iLayer software. “Management software has to be unified,” says Belluzzo.

On security, Quantum stands behind the framework it announced last December. Lost data tapes may be grabbing headlines, but Belluzzo said the biggest security issues are in the data center.

“Most data is stolen within a data center, so we’ve done more work around that,” he says. “You need an integrated end-to-end approach,” one that encompasses both the low and high end.

On encryption — Quantum will be offering full native encryption early next year — Belluzzo says encrypting the data “is almost the easy part. Key management is the hard part.”

Decru, Network Appliance’s data security unit and a Quantum partner, echoes Belluzzo’s comments, saying that encryption must be across all storage and the keys managed with a universal platform.

IBM hopes to address the key issue with the new TS1120 tape drive.

“The key itself is actually encrypted on each tape cartridge so you don’t have to figure out where the keys are,” said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM System Storage.

“Imagine that you manage an apartment complex with 100,000 apartments, which you visit once every five or 10 years, and you decide to store the keys in your clothes drawer. That is not a manageable process,” Monshaw said. “What this does is it tapes the key right to the door, and with public key encryption, you can un-encrypt it very, very systematically.”

Mainframe centralized key management provides a single point of control for the tape encryption keys for long-term key management. The IBM System Storage TS1120 is available immediately, with a starting list price of $35,500.

Sun Microsystems also introduced device-level tape encryption with key management on the Sun StorageTek Crypto-Ready T10000 tape drive, which starts at $37,000, or encryption can be added to existing drives for $5,000. The Sun StorageTek Crypto Key Management Station starts at $45,000.

Sean Michael Kerner of contributed to this report.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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