Seagate, Tape Ark Take Lead on Initiative to Liberate Massive Cold Data Libraries for New AI, Analytics

Seagate’s Lyve Data Services and Tape Ark have teamed up to deliver a service that will free the data trapped in tape vaults — a simple, streamlined process to migrate high volumes of data from aging, archived tape media directly to public cloud platforms such as AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure, in a secure and methodical way.

Zettabytes of the world’s data sits trapped on legacy tapes, stuck in offsite vault storage. Today, this data may be more useful than ever; with the power of AI and deep data analytics, it can provide greater intelligence than ever to solve problems. Older data can also be valuable, or even necessary, for maintaining regulatory compliance. Yet this data is disconnected, hard to access, and sits deteriorating on aging technology.

The goal: liberate the data from the tape vaults, unlocking the potential to access, restore, mine, analyze, monetize, and deploy it in ways never before possible. In the new Data Age — the age if IT 4.0 — data is continuously being created at endpoints, often processed at the edge then transmitted to the cloud to be analyzed as part of still-larger sets of relevant data; the migration and activation of all available data sets is crucial for driving digital transformation — and for surviving and thriving as part of the IT 4.0 revolution.

Liberate Massive Cold Data Libraries for New AI and Analytics
This partnership enables organizations from all industries to regain access to their data, potentially turning a stagnant cost center into a valuable business asset. Once data is liberated and ingested into the public cloud it becomes available to the application of data analytics thus empowering companies to exploit the inherent potential and worth of previously inaccessible data.

“With Seagate’s expertise, zettabytes of data can be migrated to cloud platforms. On a global scale, using new edge hardware solutions, we will securely transport the data enabling businesses to recover, access, index, and analyze their tape-stored archived data,” explains Paul Steele, senior director of Seagate’s Lyve Data Services. “By moving this data to the cloud, previously inaccessible data can be put to work using technologies such as AI, industry 4.0 and other analytical tools.”

“Our vision is to give client data back to the client and make it instantly and economically accessible to them where and when they want it,” says Guy Holmes, Tape Ark founder and chief executive officer. “Ingesting these data sets into the cloud puts them back in control of their data assets and potentially turns an inaccessible, decaying cost center into a valuable revenue stream.”

To Solve the Most Urgent of Problems, Humanity Needs All Data at Hand
For most of the past five decades, the most cost-effective means for storing cold data was on digital tape cartridges, stored in an offsite vault to ensure their physical safety. Once a backup or an archive was created on tape, it was given to a courier, placed on a truck, driven to offsite storage and placed on a shelf. While this gave clients some protection, it was essentially an air-conditioned room with a fire suppression system and swipe card access.

Today, things are different. Data is more present and more important than ever, and there is an almost endless supply of data that is actionable. And the data infrastructure has evolved. Over the last decade, the public cloud became ubiquitous and scalable; it provides built-in data redundancy, and it’s seen significant price decreases (while at the same time offsite tape storage costs have been on the rise). With today’s shift to IT 4.0, we’ve begun moving beyond the cloud, to the edge — tremendous computing capability is no longer limited to large centralized data centers; it can be moved closer to sources of data. The sheer volume of data created at the endpoints shifts the data gravity to the edge of the network and draws the computing power and applications closer to deliver decisions in real-time.

Data Available in Real-time
Previously cold NASA data relating to lunar dust, recorded during the Apollo moon landings, has recently been recovered and is now being used to assist in planning future missions to the Moon and Mars.

The legacy data in the world’s tape archives holds the potential to deliver tremendous value and potentially major breakthroughs in research, understanding, processes, and practices in a wide variety of sectors — but only if it’s brought in from the cold, and made available to us. Bringing decades of cold data to life will release the potential for life-critical data to solve many of humanity’s problems, from small to large, from healthcare, education and research to energy and mining, agriculture, environmental and space sciences, and media and entertainment.

“There are over one billion stored tapes on the planet, and the value of the data on those tapes is incalculable,” says Ted Oade, Seagate director of product marketing. “Bringing it online allows newly emerging big data analytics and AI-driven technologies to be applied that will let clients extract new value, monetize, and potentially deliver — in some cases — life-saving insights.”

A Complex Process Made Simple
Seagate’s Lyve Data Services powered by Tape Ark ends the need to maintain old-school vaulting storage systems. New tape migration services allow all the data to be available online, and it’s often cheaper or the same cost as legacy tape storage. Restores are no longer an issue, as data retention plans can become more proactive and robust. Access to data is available in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks. Analytics and big data tools can be used to interrogate the vast collection of historical data, offering new insights and new business opportunities.

“No more couriers, cables and crusty old equipment causing frustration and delays,” says Holmes. “You expect Netflix-style service at home, so why not expect that for your enterprise backups also?”

Seagate and Tape Ark together offer capabilities in volume and scale, enabling clients to free the data on their entire tape archive — from one tape to a million tapes, and in all legacy tape formats — with no up-front cost to migrate the data to the cloud.

Seagate’s Lyve Data Services provides global scale, leading expertise in efficient data management and recovery, and the most advanced edge hardware solutions to ensure secure data transport from the edge to any cloud service. Tape Ark brings more than two decades of specialized tape transcription and data migration, recovery and restoration, and has pioneered a groundbreaking software and tape-to-cloud data transfer interface.

Reliable data migration from tape to cloud is normally a complex process. It requires extensive resources, including legacy tape drives to read the tapes, the software and file systems originally used to write the data, and extensive use of proprietary technologies and a highly methodical process to insure data integrity, auditability and security. Tape Ark has developed proprietary technology to free data trapped within a maze of data formats, file systems, and legacy tape formats — as well as tapes that are decades old and can be quite fragile. Utilizing Tape Ark’s unique scalable and automated tape migration tools and backend infrastructure, legacy tapes can seamlessly be migrated to the cloud en masse and then easily accessed through a client portal.

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