Despite the growing appeal of hybrid virtual tape solutions that integrate disk as a 'cache buffer' to tape and introduce technologies such as data de-duplication and encryption, today’s virtual tape is unlikely to be the archiving technology of choice on its own. This is because today's virtual tape solutions are mostly designed to address backup and restore (BUR) problems and don't typically include the requisite hardware security module (HSM), data classification and data movement technologies needed to satisfy true archive requirements.
For offline deep archiving, virtual tape is probably not suitable in most cases, and the compliance, legal, risk management and records management functions in organizations will require continued off-site archiving and tape practices to be instituted perhaps as part of but more likely outside virtual tape infrastructure.
The growing schism between structured and unstructured data and the continued pressure to secure information and ensure these assets do not become liabilities means that storage administrators will be interfacing with and explaining to various oversight functions where virtual tape fits and how it affects archiving capabilities and ultimately corporate risk.
Action Item: Organizations implementing virtual tape must consider archiving-like capabilities as part of their data protection strategies that will satisfy the legal, compliance, risk and records management functions within organizations. Tape and associated archiving software capabilities will be a continued part of these solutions.