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Response to Cloudian Object Store Vs. Tape TCO Whitepaper

By Bradley Johns Consulting

Following the recent post about Cloudian promoting advantages of object storage over tapes, we received the following answer from Bradley Johns, from Brad Johns Consulting LLC.

The Cloudian TCO report, Economic Advantages of Object Storage vs. LTO posted March 14, 2024, asserts there are significant customer savings by using the Cloudian Object Storage system vs. LTO-8 tape. It estimates a 35% Capex savings and a 79% Opex saving when storing 10PB of data on the Cloudian solution rather than LTO tape over a 10-year period. However, using current pricing and configuration information rather than tape being $8,338,812 more expensive, it is actually $6,520,960 less.

The Cloudian study states it is based on LTO-8, and overstates Capex by configuring an unnecessarily large tape library (10,000 tapes when only 556 are stored on-site). It also overestimates tape Opex costs and ignores the emergence of new software that supports object (S3) storage integration with low-cost tape. Architecting a solution that takes advantage of LTO-9 tape, object storage software, a high-density tape library, and more reasonable system management personnel estimates for tape results in LTO tape being 69% less expensive than the Cloudian solution over ten years.

Along with many aspects of the IT industry there has been rapid storage management software development. Tape storage and object storage are no longer an either/or proposition. Object storage and tape storage can now work together to present an S3 object interface to the server while seamlessly storing the data on low-cost tape storage.

For the updated TCO analysis, an LTO-9 tape solution that incorporates a 300TB disk cache, an enterprise tape library and LTO-9 tape drives and media is configured to implement a tiered storage architecture. It provides a robust solution; provides 2 copies of all data and reduces operational costs. The Fujifilm TCO Tool was used to generate the tape library configuration and TCO estimates. Grau Data provided the archive software cost estimates. Using this information updated 10-year Capex for the LTO tape solution is estimated to be $1,883,193 compared to $8,404,153 for the Cloudian Object Store, a 78% savings. In addition, the OpEx is projected to be the same for tape as for Cloudian, $1,000,000 over the ten years (one FTE). Overall, the ten year tape solution TCO is $6,520,960 less than Cloudian Object Storage.

Figure 1 Tape Capex Comparison

Capital Expenditure Cloudian Object Storage Cloudian LTO Tape Estimate Updated LTO Tape Estimate
Hardware with
support contract
$4,500,000 $4,964,000 $154,332
Staging storage $0 $425,000 $59,776
Archive software $0 $2,100,000 $1,260,000
Media $0 $2,500,000 $127,880
$2,000,000 $1,000,000 $111,954
Support $660,953 $913,165 $121,632
Real estate $168,000 $588,000 $16,800
Power and cooling $1,075,200 $460,800 $5,799
Offsite storage $0 $42,000 $25,020
Capex Total $8,404,153 $12,992,965 $1,883,193

Figure 2 Tape Opex Comparison

Operational Expenditure Cloudian Object Storage Cloudian LTO Tape Updated Tape Solution
Daily ops and
$1,000,000 $4,000,000 $1,000,000
Data recovery costs
 $0  $500,000  $0
Data access costs
$0 $250,000 $0
Opex Total $1,000,000 $4,750,000 $1,000,000