Ta-ta tape, forget flash ... enter ‘Flape'

Iron Mountain heralds flash/tape hardware combo as ‘paradigm shift’ for long-term data storage.

A recent technical white paper from IBM describes tests on a high end data storage solution that combines tape, flash* and software-defined storage. ‘Flape,’ as the offering has come to be known, provides the low cost and high capacity of tape with the speed of a flash-based front end.

The idea has been around for a while, but has proven hard to implement. Now, IBM, working with a team from the Ennovar laboratory at Wichita State University have leveraged the software-defined storage (SDS) technology of the IBM Spectrum Storage range to enable an ‘easily-managed, high-performance, low- cost’ Flape solution.

IBM describes Flape as a ‘back to the future, next-generation architecture.’ Recently tape has experienced a deployment renaissance, driven by exploding data volumes and tape’s ‘ultra-low’ storage cost. While some predict that the cloud might replace tape, IBM claims that tape offers ‘many advantages over the cloud.’ Exactly what these are is not so clear since, as IBM notes, ‘many cloud service providers are deploying tape in their own infrastructure.’

In a separate release last month, Iron Mountain described Flape as a ‘paradigm shift for long-term data retention.’

* Solid state memory.

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