TCO study alerts users to 'soft' costs

Shane O'Neill

Evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of any storage purchase is always important. But when it comes to integrating disk and tape, the TCO choices can be challenging -- particularly as vendors pit the two technologies against each other.

Recent research done by the Tape Technology Council, a non-profit trade association composed of tape vendors, pointed out common overlooked costs of storage purchases, including power and cooling, floor space, security and personnel training.

"There's a lot of focus on hardware and media costs, installation, controllers and application software to arrive at a comparative cost-per-gigabyte," said Tape Council President Rich Harada, adding that these "up-front costs" are only part of the picture. "By examining other factors that can play a role in the long term, the true advantages of one system over another become clear," said Harada.

Not surprisingly, the Tape Council is partial to the TCO advantages of tape. The council's study compared one user's TCO results for tape, optical disk and magnetic disk over a three-year period by looking at costs for hardware, software/controllers, media, hardware/software maintenance, floor space and power consumption. Their research ultimately showed tape to have the lowest initial cost and the best overall value of the three technologies. The study revealed the following total costs over a three-year period:

  • Tape Library $102,394

  • Optical
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