Unlocking the Power of Data: How Data Liberation Accelerates Innovation

Equinix and Tape Ark bring impactful economic and social outcomes by retrieving historical data

Guy Danskine
Guy Holmes
Unlocking the Power of Data: How Data Liberation Accelerates Innovation

In a world fueled by data, there is a significant demand from organizations to undertake the recollection and subsequent analysis of their preexisting data caches to generate forward-looking insights behind an enormous data collection. For example, by gathering and extracting decades of past meteorological weather patterns and data, we can discover meaningful trends that translate into solutions to help tackle climate change, optimize farming outputs and create sustainable electricity and water consumption habits. However, traditional methods of data storage inadvertently neglected the process of efficient retrieval, resulting in vast troves of potentially valuable data being lost and left to deteriorate in tape storage infrastructure. Prior to the advent of the cloud, most organizations stored their backup data on physical tapes since it was the most cost-effective method at the time. While this made data easily portable and stored in this offline format, it has become increasingly difficult to track and access backdated data over time due to tape degradation and the ever-expanding supply of physical data being stored.

An observable shift in the data landscape has begun to surface, where costs of cloud storage continue to decrease, the content capacity of tape media is increasing, and offsite data storage costs are rising gradually over time. Through Platform Equinix®, Tape Ark is addressing this convergence by assisting organizations in their data migration towards digital cloud archives, unifying tape-based legacy content to modern digital infrastructure and cloud platforms. To ensure organizations can catch up with the process of data liberation, Equinix’s rich digital ecosystems and network-dense digital infrastructure form the vital foundation needed to virtualize entire physical tape connections and make the recall of migrated data on the cloud seamless and secure.

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Lift and shift: migrating physical data to the cloud

Data-driven organizations are recognizing the value of having near-immediate availability to their legacy data collections, whether for applying cloud-enabled technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), or simply to speed up legacy information recall. Historical use of tapes and end-of-life media formats that are no longer supported have created a data bottleneck for organizations facing capacity limitations for storing and accessing backed up data, stifling innovation and efficiency gains. Organizations are looking for reliable digital platforms to move their long-term physical tape archives off traditional tape media to be accurately recalled from the cloud when needed.

Tape Ark has created a unique technology stack on Platform Equinix to liberate legacy data in a secure manner, safely extracting and transferring tape-based data to the cloud. The procedure begins with the establishment of a trackable, secure logistics chain that initiates physical tape processing at Tape Ark’s global facilities, followed by a comprehensive media audit that identifies legacy data duplicates and the optimal storage solution to suit various organizational business and data management needs. Regardless of the age, tape type or data format, Tape Ark can “lift and shift” the contents of organizational tape data to a cloud provider of choice under full encryption for secure migration. Tape Ark also offers low-cost storage and can return legacy tapes for organizations looking to retain physical copies of their data, as well as certified tape destruction services.

How digital transformation accelerates data liberation

As organizations pursue digital transformation and the ability to leverage their existing data, Tape Ark’s comprehensive data management service simplifies data migration – from physical to virtual. While cloud solutions aim to address the multitude of challenges inhibiting data liberation and digital transformation, many organizations currently lack the digital infrastructure and adequate IT resources to upload petabyte-scale legacy tape data to the cloud. By leveraging the extensive global footprint of Equinix International Business Exchange® (IBX®) centers, Tape Ark is able to rapidly ingest data and perform scalable, high-speed, secure data transfers regardless of the number or size of tape-based data files and their geolocation.

Platform Equinix® serves as the requisite cloud agnostic interconnection platform, customers of Tape Ark can connect to a multitude of cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Once data is safely uploaded to the cloud, organizations can recover their data from their Virtual Tape Library securely through their selected cloud service provider via Equinix Fabric®. Virtual data retrieval times are drastically reduced in comparison to traditional physical tapes, while eliminating the constant risk of theft, damage or loss to maintain data readiness for the organization.

Synergy between modern analytics tools and underutilized data assets

The need for quick access to content has made traditional tape vaults no longer suitable for digital-first organizations. Cloud-based data can be recalled in the matter of seconds instead of days, easily fed into cutting edge analytics tools for greater data utility, as well as within AI and ML applications. Combining underused data with innovative software solutions is driving greater outcomes across industries from healthcare to media entertainment on a multitude of metrics. Data management systems across the healthcare industry are already being overhauled to position their one-of-a-kind data for greater use through cloud migration. However, large volumes of data from patient biometrics to clinical trial records are still tied up in physical tape. Liberating data from legacy backup tapes and systems create opportunities to deploy unique, multi-generational datasets for research, algorithm training and streaming.

The average videotape can contain 100 historical news clips, making it difficult to locate relevant segments for reuse and streaming due to limited metadata. Tapes would have to be physically located and viewed manually to ascertain their contents, an extremely manual, time consuming and expensive undertaking. Some broadcast media and streaming platforms leverage Tape Ark’s solution to meet rising customer expectations for on-demand streaming. Once Tape Ark extracts footage and migrates broadcast-quality data to the cloud, AWS Rekognition can be applied to the footage, automatically forming individual, high-resolution clips. These clips can be further analyzed with facial recognition to create an index of faces for streamlined search, as well as speech to text, converting all spoken words to time coded text. Feeding legacy data into modern software is generating a significant uplift in knowledge depth and creates new value from tape data that was not previously envisioned.

The future of data: building resilience and opportunity with legacy data

Across all industries, organizations can greatly benefit from moving all their legacy and backup tape data to a centralized digital platform. The cloud has unlocked new possibilities, making data accessible to organizations no matter where they are situated in the world. Disaster mitigating backups that can be retrieved across global geolocations add resilience to businesses, giving them full control over their data. Tape Ark and Equinix continue to lower the barriers of data access, helping organizations shift limited resources away from tape maintenance and offsite storage to focus on building new services and achieving increased insight accuracy and innovation through data liberation.

Guy Danskine Managing Director, Australia
Guy Holmes Guest Author: President and Chief Executive Officer, Tape Ark
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