Gaming PC

Tape Storage Soars While HDD Sales Crash

While hard drive shipments will almost halve in 2022 and HDD capacities will drop year-on-year, LTO (Linear Tape Open) tape sales rose again last year. blocks and files When storage newsletterIn fact, Trendfocus analysts believe shipments of tapes used for archival preservation and cold storage will continue to increase through at least 2027.

Analysts believe the total capacity of all tape drives shipped in 2022 will be 79.3 exabytes, up 14% year-over-year (YoY). Trendfocus forecasts that tape drive capacity will continue to increase over the next few years, with a compound annual growth rate of 21%. By 2027, the total capacity of LTO tapes will be 207.1EB.

(Image credit: Storage Newsletter)

LTO tapes from companies such as IBM, HPE, and Quantum are used by various operators of cloud data centers to store rarely accessed archives. On the other hand, as the amount of data to be stored continues to increase year by year, the demand for LTO tapes is increasing and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

When it comes to capacity costs, LTO tapes are the cheapest way to store data. For example, a modern LTO-8 tape cartridge with a strontium ferrite (SrFe) magnetic layer can store up to 580 TB of data on tape. That’s almost 30 times more than the largest HDD capacity. Of course tapes are much slower than hard drives because they can only be read and written sequentially, which adds latency, but for archiving and backup the technology is sufficient.

According to Trendfocus, shipments of LTO tape cartridges increased in 2022, but hard drive sales fell again, not only in the consumer space, but also in the data center space. Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital shipped 35.2-36.4 million HDDs last year, down about 40% year-over-year. Nearline HDD exabyte shipments fell to 165EB-170EB in Q4 2022, down about 30% year-on-year due to the economic slowdown and destocking.

2023 looks set to be a tough year for the storage sector, for both SSDs and HDDs. But don’t be surprised to see the LTO tape storage segment grow again next year.

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