Mainframers keep tape when they add cloud backup, archive storage – Blocks and Files

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A research project by the Evaluator Group found that mainframe users’ use of tape isn’t going away, and cloud storage of their backup and archive data is growing at the same time.

Downloadable Technical Insight report; “Use of Cloud Storage in Mainframe Environments” by analyst Randy Kerns, looked at enterprise mainframe users, not service providers or consulting firms. It states that “the use of public cloud storage for mainframe environments is growing for a variety of reasons and that mainframe cloud storage ‘is dominated by storing backup and archive data from the mainframe’.”

General storage for mainframe applications in the cloud was found to be too expensive: “storage costs were prohibitive due to the class (expensive performance level) of storage required and time-based charges for the amount that was resident “. repatriation. However, the specific use of cloud archive and backup storage was common.

The report states: “More than half of respondents said they store more than half a petabyte of data in the cloud. This is a lot of data for mainframe environments and the expense of storage and management, either on-premises or in a public cloud, would represent a significant amount in an overall budget.

Is its amount increasing or decreasing? It increases by more than 11% among more than two-thirds of mainframe users surveyed;

The analyst found that: “Cloud storage is easier to acquire and use than on-premises systems. Backup and archiving were the top data types cited by every respondent and the growth was primarily due to increased usage. »

Additionally, the data stored in the clouds is in tape image format, even though some users do not have tape in place: “Interviews indicated that while some do not use tape, they still use tape images stored on disk-based systems, such as an IBM TS7700 system The comment about abandoning operational practices around tapes or tape images was that it would be very difficult to change.

Why do mainframers still use tape in general? The tape was relatively inexpensive and “operational procedures based on the central tape could not be changed without great difficulty”. Having a physical airspace with the band has been cited as good news in the age of ransomware. But; “Only a few of the interviewees were using immutable settings for cloud storage. It seemed like a contradiction between security concern and ransomware recovery strategy. Digging deeper, the belief was that ransomware recovery would be from on-premises copies. “

Tape usage was increasing for around a third of respondents, due to organic data growth, with the majority saying it remained at the same level.

The report states, “The use of cloud storage for mainframe data was seen as a more modern approach to backup and archiving, much easier to acquire than virtual tape or physical tape with the required technology transitions, and would assist in executive guidelines on public use. cloud. However, the use of the existing band was so entrenched in operations that making a change was a major effort unlikely to have an allocated budget.

Overall: “Research and interviews show that cloud storage usage will continue to grow and tape usage will continue in most cases.” Cloud storage is used for backup and archiving of relatively inactive data and is growing faster than the organic growth rate of mainframe data.

You can download the report here (registration required).

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