Tape, Here We Go Again

By Henry Newman

I was recently told that both tape and hard drives are dead. I thought that had dispelled that notion in The Evolution of Stupidity: Research (Don't Repeat) the Storage Past, but I guess some out there have not read this article.

I recently was sent a detailed technology study of disk, tape and NAND flash futures from someone at IBM. I found it very interesting reading; not because it proves my point, but because the research is pretty difficult to refute. I am sure there were papers of a similar nature written back in the early 1990s, but I cannot seem to find any of them.

Unless there is some major technology breakthrough, I do not see how storage hierarchies of tape disk and flash change. Major breakthroughs generally cost huge amounts of money to develop and manufacture the technology, and both of these are lacking in the current worldwide economy. Besides money, major breakthroughs require a company take a risk, and most companies today are very risk adverse to say the least.

Technology development requires three things:

  1. A company that will take risks
  2. A company that has the capital to bring the technology developed to market
  3. Smart people who can develop the technology and bring it to market

A number of technologies developed cannot be manufactured. Without all three things coming together at the right time, the fourth thing--customers buying the product--never comes about. The technology cannot be so radical and so costly that it is not affordable or is just too disruptive to the customer.

Follow InfoStor on Twitter

This article was originally published on September 19, 2011