Originating Author: David Vellante
With STK gone who will be the new "King of Tape?" While IBM looks to be the early favorite, there is no clear innovator or leader in the space who makes tape its top priority and funds the business accordingly. At IBM, services remains #1 and at Sun, it doesn't appear tape is on a par with servers, Java or battling Windows. Despite HP's approxmiate 20% marketshare, generating demand for ink is its main goal, far surpassing any potential interest in dominating the tape market.
Companies like EMC and NetApp, who make virtually all their revenues from disk-related technologies and services, will continue to try and position tape's death as imminent, however they are not likely to succeed any time soon. Tape vendors must fight this challenge by articulating clearly that the future of tape includes disk and creating direct pathways between T2 and T3 storage. Specifically, the ability to bring together T2 and T3 strategies with data movement approaches that don't invoke servers or appliances.
Tape vendors who have data center experience with T2-->T3 migration strategies can bring substantial credibility to the table, drawing on years of experience helping customers solve a variety of problems related to backup, remote replication, archiving, compliance and fixed content management. Tape vendors, however must address data de-duplication directly or with other data reduction strategies to preserve the backup market. This includes placing de-dupe function in VTL's and siphoning data off to tape while the VTL controller manages 'house cleaning' items.
Acton Item. Bringing mainframe class automation to T2-->T3 migration and open systems is a viable business opportunity. Tape vendors must fill this void or continue to be marginalized by clever disk marketers.