Allen S. Rout

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EMC World 2012 rant

I’m back at EMC World, and I’m back in the mood to rant.

A frequent refrain of the conference has been the abatement of all tape, but I really wonder what world these folks are in; the tape experience they describe is so far from mine that there’s nearly no common reference frame.

Yesterday in one of the ‘keynotes’… (And why does a conference have eight of them? When I play every note in the scale, it’s a mess, not a key note.) Anyway, the Backup and Recovery Systems VP was talking about how tape was a source of failure for a major EMC customer recently. The punchline was something like ‘And nobody had changed the tape for seven months’.

So, who, in this millennium, thinks that changing tapes by hand is an acceptable feature of a serious DR strategy? It’s more a straw man than a comparison; and it damages the narrative more than it informs anyone. Someone advocating tape could just as well talk about some dumb disk-head who had 2 PB of JBOD, and then had a failure; OK, we can all chuckle about it, but nobody does that in real life.

This isn’t to say that I think Tape’s the be-all and end-all, but it’s absolutely an appropriate point on a spectrum of options. And the fellow who wants to sell you a new batch of spinning disk every three years is not your friend in this analysis.

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