5th Annual Global IT Executive Summit - INTO TOMORROW WITH TAPE TECHNOLOGY

When failure is not an option... from the Bottom of the Ocean to Outer Space!

OCTOBER 23 - 26, 2013 HOUSTON OMNI HOTEL

"Obama Tape" Sets the Stage for Fujifilm's 4th Annual Global IT Executive Summit

- by Matt Schmidt, FUSA Corporate Communications

October 1, 2012

Distinguished IT executives, analysts, experts and vendors recently convened in the nation's capital for FUJIFILM Recording Media USA, Inc.'s 4th Annual Global IT Executive Summit.

Amid the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., with Congress back from summer break and the Presidential election just weeks away, the event got its unofficial kick-off with comedian Marlin Hill, impersonating President Barack Obama, and the unveiling of "Obama Tape."

No, it is not an illicit video tape, quipped Hill, a/k/a "Obama," but rather a new federal mandate that every company and government agency must insure the long term safety of their data by using advanced data tape storage systems. This would lead to reduced IT expenses (as tape is less expensive than disk), reduced energy consumption compared to disk systems, and the longevity of data, as tape is several orders of magnitude more reliable than disk.

Ultimately, this would solve the nation's budget deficit as costs are reduced; profits would increase and improved tax revenues would follow, proffered "Obama." Not to mention the benefits of reducing global warming with greater use of eco-friendly tape technology.

While clearly tongue in cheek as far as the deficit is concerned, attending analyst Jon Toigo commented: "That's not so far-fetched. Tape solves a lot of problems in dealing with the overwhelming data growth faced by everyone!"

The Summit officially began with a brief introduction from Fujifilm on the very positive health of the corporation (significant in contrast to the woes faced by Kodak) and a brief report on Fujifilm's Barium Ferrite tape technology. Barium Ferrite is a key enabler for high density tape storage today and well into the future with the promise of 35 TB native capacity on a single cartridge. Fujifilm also reported on their new PermivaultTM solution, which provides on-site or off-site tier 3 archival storage leveraging LTO-5 LTFS and Strongbox from Crossroads.

The keynote speaker of the Summit was Jon Toigo, Principal of Toigo Partners International, an IT consumer advocate and vendor watch-dog who talked about how to build a better business value case for tape technology with a focus on cost containment, risk reduction, and improved productivity. In one slide, a TCO study of disk vs. tape, a graphic showed disk costs in a red bar on a chart far exceeding tape costs in a blue bar. "Just remember," said Toigo, "...red is bad!"

While Toigo was a tough act to follow, Molly Rector of Spectra Logic and Chairman of the Board of Active Archive Alliance certainly captivated the audience with her talk on Active Archiving and "tape as NAS." An active archive integrates multiple storage platforms, vendors and storage media including tape, SSD, SATA and SAS and provides affordable, file-based access to storage that is online all the time with data migrating to the appropriate storage tier. Active archives enable heterogeneous storage, with metadata indexing and access through standard file systems such as CIFS, NIFS and global file systems. With tape as a key ingredient, Rector illustrated the cost and reliability advantages of tape vs. disk with an end-user likely to see hard errors every 2.3 hours when using consumer SATA disks (assuming 100 devices at maximum transfer rates) compared to every 96.2 days for LTO-5 and every 15 years for enterprise tape!

Brendan Sullivan of AlixPartners gave a presentation on legacy data remediation that included the legal implications that always keeps people riveted! Legacy data includes all of a corporation's information that is inactive and includes an expanding number of electronic formats and volume of data. Sullivan discussed best practices for managing legacy data risks, which become a challenge not just in terms of budget but also in observance of retention policies, regulatory compliance and litigation holds. Sullivan also went on to discuss the advantages of LTFS in managing long term data archives thanks to its meta-data, persistent file view and no requirement for original back-up software (all resulting in cost savings).

Following Sullivan was Chris Millet, Senior IT Manager for Qualcomm, providing an end-user perspective (always welcome after hearing from analysts and vendors). Qualcomm faces many e-discovery requests surrounding litigation, much, if not all of the massive amount of petabytes of data generated by this telecom must be stored indefinitely, according to Millet. Couple this with explosive data growth of more than 50%, and given the limitations of disk storage in terms of capex and opex, meeting their storage challenge is "realistically only possible with tape," said Milllet.

The next speaker up was Harry Hulen, HPSS archive consultant to talk about RAIT (redundant arrays of independent tape) and other software technologies for long-term massive tape archives. While Hulen's talk focused on issues of interest to archivists and IT custodians of long-term massive tape archives, he implored the audience to pay attention anyway! In actuality, Hulen ended up with lots of good questions about LTO-5 LTFS, checksums and the new software strategies including RAIT, which can eliminate errors while ensuring long-term data integrity and extending the already long life of tape media.

Tab Butler, Director of Media Management for Major League Baseball Network, delivered a catchy presentation with dramatic MLB playoff video clips. With an always-expanding market for MLB, Butler explained how he copes with increasing storage requirements, file based video workflows, media asset management and the archiving of the national pastime… all of which ends up on LTO tape!

The final speaking slot for the day was taken by Mark Peters of Enterprise Strategy Group. Peters was the right man for the job, as he got the audience revved up with his self-effacing British humor and thought provoking presentation. For example, when challenging the status quo thinking that disk is better than tape, Peters polled the audience on which is more eco-friendly - a paper or Styrofoam cup? Most indicated paper, but Peters went on to challenge that perception by explaining the energy and chemicals required to make a paper cup, ultimately rendering it less eco-friendly than styrofoam! Likewise, for those who think disk is shiny and new and tape is old and dusty, nothing could be further from the truth. Peters revealed yet-to-be published research conducted by his firm detailing the business initiatives impacting IT spending and how tape best addresses these initiatives, most importantly cost reduction. Peters went on to explain the applicability of tape in the cloud with its superior opex and capex, reliability and longevity, security, scalability and portability. What is cloud after all, asked Peters? "Merely IT… consumed differently!"

Day two kicked off with a presentation by Thomas Youkel, Chief of Enterprise Systems Engineering for The Library of Congress. While not that many people can say they work for THE Insurance company or THE Bank or THE University, Youkel can say THE Library, as indeed, The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. With that comes many challenges around long term archive and preservation of many forms of nationally treasured documents, many of which must be archived forever. Needless to say, tape plays a major role in that endeavor.

After the final presentation by Youkel, a speaker panel was convened to allow the attendees to ask questions and drill down into the issues. The speaker panel was masterfully moderated by Henry Newman, CEO and CTO of Instrumental, Inc. who clarified issues and prompted many questions. One attendee asked, "What about optical and other technologies for long term storage such as holographic?" "Well," said one panelist, "optical doesn't have supporting infrastructure or a capacity roadmap. As for holographic, that is and always will be the technology of the future!"

The group then departed for tours of the Library of Congress, the U.S. Capitol Building and several historic monuments - a well-deserved break after an intense day and a half of information sharing.

As for the overall Summit, in the words of one attendee: "I loved it - it was honestly one of the best conferences I have been to. From the dynamic speakers, the information provided and the discussions with others in the industry, it was absolutely outstanding. I hope to be able to attend in the future!"

More Highlights from Last Year

The conference was wonderful. The materials and discussions were great.
More from the 2012 Conference
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