The numbers don’t look good
My favorite source of numbers for the tape industry used to be the Santa Clara Consulting Group. They’d been tracking the use of tape in the backup and recovery industry since 2008 and had been a great go-to for such data. They showed a steady decline in number of units shipped, both in terms of drives and media. Unfortunately, it looks like they stopped doing these services in 2014.
Gartner’s most recent report on what media types people are using to do their backups is a pretty solid source of data, though. They’ve got data going back to 2009 that shows the percentage of people that are backing up directly to tape (D2T), backing up to disk then copying to tape (D2D2T), backing up to disk with no tape component (D2D/D2D2D), or backing up to the cloud (D2C/D2D2C). While tape is used in most datacenters in one way or another, the percentage of companies using tape in any way is steadily declining. Companies are clearly moving to D2D or D2C techniques. What are the reasons behind this trend?