Data protection warrior explains LTO & RDX

Pat Mayock is a Data Protection Warrior for HPE, and he helped us to understand where he thinks LTO & RDX (a removable disk technology) sit in the market. He explains how much tape is used today in enterprise and cloud environments, especially in the public cloud that so many think is a tapeless world. He says the cloud vendors are some of LTO’s biggest customers! We talk about what LTO is good at, what it’s not so good at, and what that means for how you should use it. Then we shift gears to talk about RDX, a removable disk product that has been around for roughly 15 years. It consists of a docking station and a disk-based cartridge that is built to kind of resemble a tape! Each cartridge contains a single disk drive that you can use very much like you would use a tape, except it appears as a drive letter (mounted filesystem) versus a tape drive. He explains what its target market is and how it meets a niche in the removable storage market in between removable USB disks and a standalone LTO tape drive. This is a fascinating episode you won’t want to miss.

Video

Transcript

[00:00:00] W. Curtis Preston: I actually developed skills of being able to reassemble the door, like to take a, to cannibalize another tape and take the little door off and putting it onto a tape that I needed it on.

[00:00:12] Pay Mayock: Yeah, I guess that’s why the tape evolved.

[00:00:16] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah

[00:00:36] W. Curtis Preston: Hi, and welcome to Backup Central’s Restore it All podcast. I’m your host, W. Curtis Preston, AKA Mr. Backup and I have with me, my vaccine side effects, counselor Prasanna Malaiyandi how’s it going, Prasanna?

[00:00:49] Prasanna Malaiyandi: I am not a medical doctor. Any advice I give is should not be construed as medical advice. Please seek professional help. If you need some. I’m doing okay, Curtis, how are you

[00:00:59] W. Curtis Preston: oh, it was a pretty as a pretty rough day yesterday. I, um, and I don’t know if it’s, you know, because I chose to do both. I got my, you know, I got my, my fourth COVID jab as well as I got the second of the shingles vaccines. And I got both of them at one time. And it’s, this is actually of, of all of the shots that I’ve had recently.

Cause you know, I get my annual flu shot and I got all the COVID shots and um, Uh, and I got the shingles shot, but the first shingles shot, that sounds like it shouldn’t sound the way that anyway, shingles shot. Uh, this is the first time that I was, it just knocked me on my butt and, uh, I took drugs. Didn’t help.

I just, so I just laid around and moaned and groaned. So really all I could do is call my friends

[00:01:50] Prasanna Malaiyandi: But you’re feeling better, a little better.

[00:01:54] W. Curtis Preston: I’d say I’m at about 90%, which is really that’s, let’s be honest. That’s how that’s,

[00:01:59] Prasanna Malaiyandi: that’s most

[00:02:00] W. Curtis Preston: as good as I need to do to do a podcast. I mean,

[00:02:04] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Oh,

[00:02:05] W. Curtis Preston: If If I be on stage or something, that would be a problem,

[00:02:09] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Well, I’m glad you’re feeling better, Curtis. And yeah, like you said, hopefully by the end of today, you should be back up to a hundred percent.

[00:02:15] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah. Uh, or a hundred percent of me, which is, you know, who knows what that is for other people,

[00:02:22] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Your bubbly you. Come on, Curtis

[00:02:23] W. Curtis Preston: uh, bubbly me. Yeah. Um, but, uh, yeah, I, you know, I’m fully, fully support all the vaccines and everything, but sometimes you get those, you get those side effects.

[00:02:39] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Well, I told you, I think we, maybe we talked about on the podcast, but yeah, when I got my first booster shot back during Thanksgiving, like we basically had to, we did it the day before Thanksgiving, which is the wrong time to do it.

Thanksgiving day, my wife and I, neither of us could get up. Like I was just. Exhausted like fever, you name it. I had the symptoms and so we ended up postponing Thanksgiving dinner till the next day.

[00:03:05] W. Curtis Preston: Druva had our, our SKO last week. Uh, you know, my wife wanted to get the shots last week. Cause we have an upcoming trip where we going to be hanging out with a bunch of family members. So we wanted to get the booster and I didn’t want to get it right before SKO. And I’m glad, I’m glad I didn’t. That would have been a crappy

[00:03:24] Prasanna Malaiyandi: That would have been miserable

[00:03:25] W. Curtis Preston: uh, speaking of Druva, uh, Prasanna and I work for different companies and, uh, I work for Druva. He works for Zoom, and this is not a podcast of either company. Any opinions that you hear are ours

[00:03:36] Prasanna Malaiyandi: or Curtis’s really

[00:03:38] W. Curtis Preston: Pretty much, uh, and be sure to rate us at ratethispodcast.com/restore and, uh, or, you know, on your favorite podcatcher just scroll down to wherever they have their ratings and give us some stars and some comments, uh,

[00:03:52] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Curtis loves reading the comments. He wants more comments. People come

on.

[00:03:57] W. Curtis Preston: give us comments. We love it. Um, and, uh, also if you, you know, if you have something to say in this space, backup recovery archive, uh, cybersecurity, ransomware tape, disc cloud, I don’t know. Did I cover it? Privacy, privacy as well? Absolutely. Um, you know, We’d love to have you on just reach out, to reach out to me at wcurtispreston@gmail or @wcpreston on Twitter.

So let, uh, let us get on to our guest. He is, uh, been in the data protection space for longer than I have, which is saying something. And, um, having worked at a number of, uh, companies and he is now, I love, this is actually what made me invite him on the podcast. I was looking on LinkedIn and his title says data protection warrior, I love that title.

I may just steal that title. The heck with Mr. Backup, I’m going to go with data protection, warrior, uh, and Crusader of LTO tape and RDX that. Welcome to the podcast, Patrick

[00:05:02] Pay Mayock: Thank you very much for inviting me, uh, looking forward to the podcast.

[00:05:07] W. Curtis Preston: And, uh, and actually I should call you pat right now, Patrick,

[00:05:10] Pay Mayock: That’s right Make it Pat.

[00:05:12] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah, no problem. So welcome. Welcome to the podcast, Pat. And, uh, I think the first thing we have to get off the, off the, off the table here is that whatever that is behind you, because it looks

[00:05:26] Pay Mayock: So I grew up, uh, all over the United States, but spent most of my time in Southern California. Um, and actually right in Aliso beach where these, this sport began. That’s a skim board, basically. It’s, I’ve been making these since I was a kid. I got out to Colorado. I still take vacations and I still make them on, take them with me and then, uh, for friends and family.

So they’ll give me a call and say, Hey, we’re now in Florida. Can you help me out? So yeah, I still make them and they’re pretty fun.

[00:05:59] Prasanna Malaiyandi: So for people who may not be

familiar, what’s a skim board?

[00:06:02] Pay Mayock: So, especially in Southern California, the beaches are steep. Okay. And the water is cold. So the water comes up and splashes back down, you run across the shoreline, as the water is going down. If you’re good, you throw the board, jump on it and slide down. If you’re really good, you slide down towards the incoming wave and it’s a, it’s a short break and you come up it and you come back down.

[00:06:29] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Um,

[00:06:29] Pay Mayock: And it’s, it’s an amazing sport. I can’t do that. I can sort of go horizontal maybe three or four times. So they’ve got to stop and sit down, but that skimboarding

[00:06:42] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Gotcha.

[00:06:42] W. Curtis Preston: And so it’s got no fins or anything that would be,

[00:06:45] Pay Mayock: nothing. Yeah, no fins. It’s flat, a little bit of a, of a spoon to it. And, uh, yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

[00:06:54] W. Curtis Preston: Amazing. Um, I actually, I, I, I think I’ve seen that some, cause I, you know, I live in Southern California, but I don’t spend, I don’t spend enough time at the beach, but I I’ve seen that, but I, I don’t know. I don’t think I knew what I was looking at.

[00:07:11] Pay Mayock: Yeah,

[00:07:12] W. Curtis Preston: But, uh, but you, you are a, I guess, an avid skim boarder to the point of actually making your own skim boards

[00:07:18] Pay Mayock: that’s about it.

[00:07:20] W. Curtis Preston: and you live in, you know, a little far from the

[00:07:23] Pay Mayock: A little far, but, uh, I’ve been here for 20 years. I love Denver. I love, uh, it works out well for business because you can get anywhere you want to get to. We’ve got all the weather, sometimes all the weather in the same day, but we have all the weather, so it’s good.

[00:07:39] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in and around Boulder and Denver and, um, having visited a lot of the, you know, the tape companies that tend to be out there.

Um, and I, I ha I have some pictures of what is, what is now an abandoned factory or whatever, you know, the, the tape drive right out there. W what that used to be StorageTek facilities, right.

Yeah. Yeah.

I’ve got some really good photos of the, of the street signs for Tape Drive, but

[00:08:12] Prasanna Malaiyandi: I used to work on Tape Drive,

visit the office, used to visit the campus out there. So at my, one of my prior employers, EMC had a office on Tape Drive right off Tape Drive.

[00:08:24] W. Curtis Preston: Interesting.

[00:08:25] Prasanna Malaiyandi: those factories that you probably have pictures of. But I think when I went out there, it was just like an abandoned field.

I think all those factories were

gone.

[00:08:32] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty. I’ll let, um, pat, has anything

happened out

there

[00:08:37] Pay Mayock: No, no, they moved on obviously, uh, the land’s got a lot of value, but for now it’s still a empty lot.

[00:08:44] W. Curtis Preston: Hmm. Hey, you know, anybody looking for some, for some manufacturing facilities go, uh, plenty of land out there is, is it that is Boulder, right?

[00:08:55] Pay Mayock: Yes, it is just as you come down the hill, it’s off to your right. It’s a great location.

[00:09:01] W. Curtis Preston: Right, right. Uh, and you can, you have access to Pat, so, but Pat, you have a job. You work actually for hPE, right?

[00:09:09] Pay Mayock: That’s correct. So I’m a, I’m a business partner manager. I work with our, uh, HPE partners to help them sell more, you know, tape media, tape libraries, the whole business of data protection, but focusing on currently focusing on the tape media, uh, the RDX product, which is a little bit unique. Uh, and then helping out with tape libraries.

[00:09:32] Prasanna Malaiyandi: I’m going to ask the obvious question just because most of our listeners are probably like isn’t tape dead and I’m sure we’re going to talk about that. Just playing. I know we’ve had a lot of podcasts episodes talking about tape, but just for all the listeners who may not have heard some of our past episodes, uh, pat, maybe you could give

your

[00:09:50] W. Curtis Preston: you just, you just hurt my heart

[00:09:52] Prasanna Malaiyandi: I know. So, so this is me channeling our listeners

[00:09:59] Pay Mayock: So it’s interesting because I, I started out selling nine track tape way back when the reels I’ve got one over here, but so that tapes around for a long time, it had a 20 year lifespan and then tape moved on to all types of technologies, competing technologies. Each one, each new evolution had a better capacity, a better throughput working on better quality, all those goals, but it was a competition.

And so you’d walk into a company and they had one of each okay. Or 20 of each types of technology back in the day, DLT AIT, eight millimeter, a bunch that moved on to a group, the LTO group, and sort of solidified on a standard. Multiple manufacturers, all designing the specifications around the cartridge, the media, the tape drive, all those components.

And it’s a group effort. We do compete, but it’s a group effort. So it allows some stability in the marketplace to continually bring out the next evolution. The next level of, of technology. Um, but as a group. Okay. So if someone has a preference for ABC company, they can buy it from ABC or XYZ. They all work together.

Um, and nowadays the, the short answer is tape is as fast or faster than disk. I like saying that

[00:11:31] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Hmm.

[00:11:32] Pay Mayock: it’s got a longer shelf life, meaning you can store data for about 30 years. Disk can’t do that. It is better for the environment because you can store so much capacity of data in a very small space that it saves on, you know, data center, um, resources.

Okay. If you could put all your data on a disc, that’d be great, but it would cost so much in terms of space for those systems for power, for cooling. And so I smiled because. Data is growing so fast. The most cost effective way to store large amounts of data for long purposes is on tape. It’s not going to go away.

And then specifically your HPE, my brand of tape can fit in anybody’s tape drive in anybody’s tape library. So all these companies that are creating this content. I have to put that data somewhere safely. And it’s not really an argument because you look at the actual data and say, oh, well, it’s the cost and where to do this.

This makes sense. So again, I smile a lot. It’s a good, it’s a good marketplace. And I never, I never used that phrase,

you know, because it’s been around forever and I just, you know, I, I just can’t see that phrase. You mentioned the unknown

reigns.

[00:12:58] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah. I think that when you look at tape versus disc about the only thing that disc is better at is random access. Right? Um, I mean, tape, it has. Um, uh, error rate, right? It has a longer storage time. It, uh, power, power consumption is, is vastly different. In fact, I remember, uh, years ago writing a thing that talked about the fact that even if disk were free, the tape would still be cheaper because of the power savings over

time.

Right.

Yeah, and it’s not so great at random access, right? Oddly enough, it can do random access. We have the darn it.

LTFS.

[00:13:52] Pay Mayock: Oh, LTF.

[00:13:53] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah. So you, you can make an LTO tape look like a file system. It will be the slowest performing random access file system you’ve ever used, but it will work. Um, but I w I wouldn’t use it for that.

Like, as a, as a human interacting with that, you would not want to do that. Right. But it can do that. Why would someone use LTFS over. Just storing something on LTO tape.

[00:14:23] Pay Mayock: Uh, it is, as you say, a better way of organizing the data on physical tape, so you can get to it faster. And there are multiple data management software packages out there that take advantage of that. So that when you and I click on a video online somewhere, that’s probably coming off a tape somewhere to a disc and being stationed there for multiple access.

But it’s coming off tape because they can’t keep everything on disc. I mean, like you said, if this was free, When you look at the new, uh, stories of datacenters being put in by all these major corporations, a lot of them social media, the size of those facilities is, is unbelievable. If it was all disk, it would be three times bigger.

Okay. Me just physical space. There’s just a better ability to put data on tape than on disk for those reasons.

[00:15:22] W. Curtis Preston: Which reminds me of something that I, all that I also say rather frequently, which is, I think if the average person saw what the average build of these large social media companies were in these cloud companies. They would be very surprised by the amount of tape in those environments. Wouldn’t you say?

[00:15:40] Pay Mayock: Right. Right. But people like my family will come up to me and say, but dad, what about, uh, what about the cloud? You’re gonna lose your job! And the answer is. The cloud has a lot of tape in it. They’re our best customers, because for cost reasons, they can’t keep all of your documentation, all of your images and all that on disc.

They’re trying to be businesspeople. And they look at the scale and the speeds and yeah, there’s a, there’s a lot of room for growth in the, in the LTO market. Uh, and the tape market definitely.

[00:16:15] Prasanna Malaiyandi: It’s an interesting point. You made Pat, which I hadn’t, I, it should have dawned on me, but it wasn’t obvious is your video streaming example, right. Where people are accessing video on demand or whatever else. And the companies themselves are storing it on tape. Like that never came across to me as, yeah.

That is probably the most likely method that they’re doing. Just like you said, for cost reasons. I’m sure there is, like, you mentioned like buffering and other things to make sure that it performs well once the first copies read, but yeah, keeping that stuff on tape probably makes the most sense.

[00:16:51] Pay Mayock: If you look at, and there’s multiple stories, uh, in the market, one in areas, you know, media, entertainment and sports. of those games and that kind of a smile, all those games you’re being recorded, multiple angles, and they’re being kept for five, 10 years. So that a, a news, uh, sports center can say, well, let’s get a recap of all the games that, that Bob Smith played in. They ask the question, it goes out, it goes onto the tape libraries to access all the information. They need, load up the tapes, download whatever copies they need and boom, they have a full story of all that data and they just can’t do it. I shouldn’t say can’t, but you can’t do it physically on disk because of the comparison and capacities and power and cooling.

[00:17:41] W. Curtis Preston: Right. I I’d say the other, you know, earlier I said the, the, the, uh, the one thing that disk could do better, the other thing disc can do better, which I, which I probably should’ve also mentioned is the ability to go any speed. Right. Um, which, which really became, I think the primary problem that tape experienced in the backup space, right.

It certainly was for me. And it’s why, why we started using things like multiplexing, which is, um, you know, it’s, it, it was a necessary evil. Um, and you know, we, we, we had, um, a Ricky Martin from NetApp that was talking about that. And he was just talking about, he just referred to it as just evil. Right. You just see I’m like, well, it’s a necessary evil back in the day because tape was not good at going slow. It, I don’t think it’s got any better at going slow these days than it was before. And so that’s why it became problematic in backup and recovery. And we used multiplexing for a while to sort of create, I dunno, a buffer zone there, if you will, but it was such a bad thing in that it made backups. Okay. But it made restores worse. But that’s why I think tape really went down, uh, in the backup space. But what has happened is what you’re talking about is tape being used in the primary and secondary storage spaces. Not as much in the backup space. Um,

[00:19:19] Pay Mayock: So even on the team that I work with, we do argue, we talk about new marketing ideas and what we should be focusing and some say. Uh, it’s all about backup and data protection. Um, and then others say, no, no, no, it’s all about archive. Okay. There was what are our strengths? Um, and again, you can store on flash.

You can store on disc, you can store on tape, you got choices. Um, but on the backup side, you know, for all the current, uh, newsworthy issues we’re having with ransomware, the idea to copy all your data. then take that copy and take it off the network. They talk about offline air gap, um, and it’s easy to do with tape.

So it’s a copy, but once it’s put onto the tape moves onto the, into the slot, it’s offline. If they break into your network, it’s pretty hard to get to the content on tape. it’s hard to get to the content on tape because it’s not on-line. And then you make two copies and one goes off site.

So for backup, that’s just a, a huge boom, hate to say it for tape because of those two features. Get it offline and get it off site. It’s easy. The bigger one, as you said is for archive. I shouldn’t say bigger, but the other one is for archive because there’s so much content. I saw a note today, uh, from, uh, IDC talking about 40% growth. Across all companies per year,

[00:20:53] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Yeah.

[00:20:54] Pay Mayock: so per year. So that data that you created a year ago, you’re required to keep it maybe has value for engineering purposes or for legal reasons or for content, but you want to get it off your high powered high-performance disc systems and get it off site and get it offline.

And then when you need it, you can get to it.

[00:21:19] W. Curtis Preston: We’ve had a couple of guests on the podcast that have talked about, they’re basically exactly what you’re saying, that, that it’s hard to beat a tape when it comes to ransomware. Right. That it’s all it’s, it’s purely offline, right? Completely offline.

[00:21:37] Pay Mayock: If I could jump in, one concept of tape is to make a copy and send it off to someplace like iron mountain. That’s great. There’s some issues regarding your recovery time, your cost to keep it there, et cetera, but it is a great fail safe because. Iron mountain and other companies like that have very secure environments.

In some cases, they’re actually under a mountain. And so your data, if it’s critical for you for a 10 year storage of data, that’s awesome. Very well protected. Another blend is to have onsite data on your own tape library system. And then a second copy either in the cloud or at a second facility.

That is, has a duplicate system set up. And so when you talk about disaster recovery, it’s not just ransomware, it could be an actual natural, uh, effect on your own building, you know, hurricanes, et cetera. So again, you have local access if it’s an attack, uh, but you have a second site so that if you lose your facility, for whatever reason, you’ve got all your data somewhere else.

[00:22:47] W. Curtis Preston: I like to use things like for what they’re really good at. And I do think that tape is really good at this at holding, you know, large amounts of data for long periods of time, and also being able to cheaply create another copy that I can store wherever. Right. Um, so I, and there are technologies.

To have two tape libraries replicating between each other. Right. So that we don’t have to continually be shipping tapes back and forth. Um, And, and that’s why I think when I go to, it’s been, it’s been a couple of years for, for obvious reasons since I’ve been to NAB and I didn’t go this time. I was, I was a little busy, but NAB was just last week.

The national association of broadcasters, for those of you that don’t follow that. And there’s a huge interest in tape, in the broadcast space. For exactly what you’re talking about. The broadcast and entertainment spaces. They create a ridiculous amount of data very quickly, and then they want to store all of it forever.

[00:24:02] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Yeah. Just

imagine the Olympics and taking like eight K video. Right. And that’s an enormous amount of data for how many weeks, and now you want to store it because in like four years or whatever else, you’re going to want to be able to pull up those clips again. Are you going to store it all on disc?

Probably not.

[00:24:21] Pay Mayock: Probably not.

[00:24:23] W. Curtis Preston: So, uh, but let’s take it, but let’s take a turn. So we talked about tape for awhile. You have another technology, which is not tape, which, um, I, I ha I don’t see a lot about lately. In fact, I actually thought it had, I apologize, but I thought it had gone by the wayside. And when I saw that in your bio, I said, Hey, we’ve got to get Pat on to talk to us about RDX. So first off, why don’t you describe what RDX is.

[00:24:59] Pay Mayock: Sure. I’m looking around the room here.

[00:25:02] Prasanna Malaiyandi: It’s not the car by the way.

[00:25:05] Pay Mayock: Pardon me?

[00:25:06] Prasanna Malaiyandi: It’s not the car, right? It’s not the acura rDX. Exactly.

[00:25:10] Pay Mayock: No. No. So, so you mentioned Boulder. I believe the company was called pro store developed a technology in Boulder for RDX, and they developed it for awhile and then sold the rights to multiple companies. Um, like, like Tandberg, for instance, uh, Tandberg Overland, and it’s, it’s used by Dell, HPE and other companies today.

Um, to put out in the marketplace, in a nutshell, it is a disc drive and a cartridge. So it looks similar to this, but it’s actually a disc drive and it has a small docking station, usually USB attached and same concept. I want a copy of my data. I want to be able to eject it and then throw it into a safe, or take it off site to a secure facility or send it securely to somebody else and have them load it for themselves.

So it’s disc in a cartridge, um, been around for, oh gosh, I’m getting old, more than 15 years, uh, is still quite popular in some of the workstations that are put out by HP and HPE, uh, like the ProLiant, um, where someone has a series of disks and all their content. And as an engineer, they say, or a creative person, they say, give me a copy and I want it on disc.

Okay. So they just pop it up. And again, this portable, et cetera, same kinds of, uh, or similar advantages to tape, uh, what I do with both, you know, if I get to an a stage, I just throw them because the RDX disk cartridge is designed to take an impact of like three feet. And I usually just throw it though. Um, so it’s a different level than say a standard USB, uh, external drive.

Uh, it’s designed for somebody who’s moving a lot of data off an on disk. Okay. Um, one example I thought of as the, uh, uh, law enforcement offices evolved into body cams and, uh, surveillance cameras, um, and cameras mounted on, on the police cars, a normal it environment had to jump a factor of 10. Like a factor of 10 to maintain all that data and you can do it with USB drives.

Uh, but you can also do with a more secure product called RDX.

[00:27:35] W. Curtis Preston: So it, it’s bringing some of the functionality of tape to desk, if you will, or it’s basically making, making tape. Look like disk, what does it actually look like when you, when you put a cartridge in, does it show up as a drive letter or.

[00:27:54] Pay Mayock: Yep. Sure. It looks like a disc drive. It is a disc drive. Okay. So, and for some people, again, depending on your environment, um, retail businesses, they can use tape. And a lot of times they used to use the four millimeter dat. Okay. As their daily backup for all their, uh, uh, POS environment. And that worked just fine.

The technology went away and so they were asking, well, what else is there? A disk in a cartridge is very easy for each individual retail store. And imagine all those stores out there to just each act, it toss it in the safe every night. It’s a very secure way of keeping a copy of all those transactions.

Um, and again, every customer says tape or disk, you know, what, what makes sense for me? We all have a preference. uh, at some point the capacity benefits of tape, they can get cheap for storing data outweigh the capacity and the cost for RDX, but for one terabyte to five terabyte environments, it has a great play.

[00:29:01] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Is there a reason though? Someone wouldn’t just use like an external portable hard drive or

another mechanism like

that

[00:29:09] Pay Mayock: So, do you have one of those at

home?

You must have one. Yeah, so I do too. Okay. So I back up my stuff, I do a, a USB drive if I was doing that and unplugging it every single day. Okay. At some point that’s not what it’s designed for. Okay. Just the mere fact of plugging it in and plugging it out. That USB, if it’s always plugged in or plugged in once a month and you do your backup.

[00:29:36] Prasanna Malaiyandi: that’s fine.

[00:29:36] Pay Mayock: But individuals who are going through five 10 of these external drives and plugging them in for different reasons. It makes more sense to have a docking stations that is designed for anti-static. Um, human beings just shoving it in. Okay. And all the security you need for that kind of multiple volumes being stored on multiple cartridges.

Okay. And it’s all plugged in once, either internal or external. So it’s just a different level. Um,

[00:30:13] W. Curtis Preston: By the way, your earlier comment, it gave me multiple flashbacks. I just wanted to tell you that, uh, when, when you mentioned retail and you mentioned DAT drives because, uh, I cut my teeth, uh, like the, the most popular tape drive that I spent a lot of my time in, early at Deezer HP nine thousands. I don’t know if you remember the HB 9,000 series, but, um, I had, I had an army of those on my data center and we had the DDS one and the DDS two drives and, uh, those things. Just a big thing with them was to not drop them. Cause they were, they were good tape dries, but if you drop that tape from a height of like, you know me, that it would go shattering, right? The, the, the door would go shattering. And, uh, I actually got, I actually developed skills of being able to reassemble.

The door, like to take a, to cannibalize another tape and take the little door off and putting it onto a tape that I needed it

on.

[00:31:21] Pay Mayock: Yeah, I guess that’s why the tape evolved.

[00:31:26] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah, I, well, cause LTO is, is by comparison or by contrast is much more, uh, You know, rigid, right? Uh, it handles and later generations of LTO are more rigid than earlier. Generations of LTO. In fact, I, I have this information from a very different standpoint than most people. I actually was making a music video where, um, we shattered.

Tapes against, there was just one shot that I wanted and we did it in slow motion. And, uh, we wanted to shatter an LTO tape against the wall and we wanted it to hit the wall and then explode. Right. And it turned out it was impossible to make that shot. And they only, because it wouldn’t do it. And, uh, no matter how hard we throw it.

And so what I ended up having to do was to disassemble the cartridge, check out all the screws. Right. And then tape it together, put, put scotch tape on the outside so that, so that, uh, when we throw it against the wall, it would, uh, so like I said, it’s a very different, the average person has not tried to destroy, uh, uh, uh, a tape for, um, you know, for a music video.

So what, what, so the, the use of RDX that you talked about, I heard you talk about retail environments. What are other places that people are using them? What are other things that people are using them for?

[00:32:57] Pay Mayock: I hate to limit it because it really comes down to, you know, what are your requirements. But I’ll try, I’ll start with that. If you’re an environment where you’re working on. One terabyte to say five terabytes of data. Okay. On a regular basis, you need a backup. You need something rugged. Um, RDX might be used for, you know, laptop environment where scientists are going out into the field and analyzing, uh, uh, the data from either Marine or geological information and they need something.

They can back up their laptop. And then putting their, their briefcase and come back when the field and have the data secure. Okay. It’s used on, I’ve seen applications in oil exploration vessels, and that’s an amazing technology where they go out and they troll with all these sensors and gather all this data from the ground under the water.

It’s so much data, but they’re on a ship.

And so once they collect it, they want to be able to securely, put it on something. And the it person says I need all LTO, the appar it person says, I need all RDX again, a choice. Okay. Uh, for what they see is more beneficial for their environment. So there’s some big scale type applications.

Uh, but the smallest scale is someone who is a content creator at home. And you walk in their office and they’ve got multiple USB drives at different sizes, and they’ve knocked some off the table and they’ve lost content there. They need to hear about RDX and I’ll admit it’s not a well talked about product.

Um, but it has a great application.

[00:34:43] Prasanna Malaiyandi: I was even thinking, as you’re talking about the content creators, even probably people photographers, videographers, right? The people in the field taking 4k video and things like that. Right. For the most part, I think they end up just throwing them onto SSD drives. Right. Portable hard drives, but like you mentioned, right.

They’re not always the most robust right. In all situations and things like that. And so maybe that could potentially be another use case as

[00:35:08] Pay Mayock: Exactly.

[00:35:10] W. Curtis Preston: I would assume. Well, I I’m, I I’m going to assume, but you can verify or, or, or disagree the, the, the bay, the docking station, it’s less expensive than an LTO tape drive. I’m assuming.

[00:35:27] Pay Mayock: . So you think about RDX and RDX as a removable cartridge that has a disc drive in it. I guess the key thing to think about is that majority of the technology is here in the cartridge.

Okay. It’s a disk drive in a very well-designed case that has some anti-static issues.

Um, allows you to plug it in and plug it out multiple times without destroying any connectors and the docking station. Okay. To be blunt, it’s pretty low technology. Okay. It’s got the cord going into the system and it might be internal. Um, but it’s very low cost. So as we evolve through technology and someone said, I’ve got my four millimeter dat technology backing up my office environment.

And I can’t find L a DAT tapes anymore. I can’t find 4 mm tapes anymore and there, and they search and they pay a lot of money for those tapes because they don’t want to change their system. One of the first issues they worry about going to the next level of tape technology is that it might be over $500 over a thousand dollars over $3,000 for a brand new LTO tape drive.

[00:36:47] W. Curtis Preston: Right.

[00:36:48] Pay Mayock: Without getting in trouble, a docking station under $250. And they transition to this technology. And in that environment, that cost to change technology is quite low. And then they have, you know, the current disc drive in a cartridge meets their needs.

[00:37:10] W. Curtis Preston: So it sounds like the, the docking station is less expensive. The quick look, I, the quick search that I did, it shows that the media is more expensive than LTO. Which makes sense, given all of the, the technology that’s in there, just like, you know what you talked about.

[00:37:27] Pay Mayock: Right.

[00:37:29] W. Curtis Preston: that is something that a potential customer needs to weigh out. Right. Um, in terms of, do I want a more expensive tape drive that will have, uh, you know, less expensive media, it depends on how many of those you’re buying. Right. And, and like you said, if, if, if you need, cause it was like, it was around 500 bucks for, uh, for a five terabyte cartridge that I, at least my quick search.

Whereas something like that with LTO is, is a hundred bucks or less, right? So it just going to different different people are going to find both of those useful. I would think.

[00:38:05] Pay Mayock: Exactly and that, and that is again, the customer makes the decision based on what their data is, uh, what their concept is about disk or tape. Um, and then, like you said, the docking stations for RDX is very low cost to step into, um, as opposed to a tape drive.

[00:38:24] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Yeah. The one question I had for you Pat, was I know we talked earlier about LTFS and giving you sort of random access for data that’s stored on LTO tapes. I’m guessing with RDX because it is disc, right? Your random access performance. Everything else would be significantly better than tape.

[00:38:45] Pay Mayock: Right. In my mind, if I was a content creator and I have a drone, by the way, I love my drone. I’ve got a lot of grandkids. I love chasing around the house, you know, or outside. All that content I can put on an RDX and load it and access it and use it and play with it and then take it out, put it back on the shelf.

And let’s just call that summertime 2022. Okay. Um, with tape, I wouldn’t be able to do that quite as easy. I would take the content out, download it when I want to play with it and then put it back on. So for different environments, It’s an advantage to have a, a disc based system. Okay. As opposed to a tape based system.

That’s all

[00:39:31] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Makes sense. Like Curtis was saying, I think the different use cases, right. You have to look and see, what is your use case? What are your requirements? And based on that you have options.

[00:39:38] Pay Mayock: Right. And again, in talking to sales teams and they asked the question, great question. Where does RDX fit and where does LTO tape fit? Usually the customer has already made that decision, but, but the real opportunity is when you find somebody, like I mentioned, like a Sheriff’s department, that’s buying 10 I’ll call them raw. USB disc. And somebody is responsible to collect all the data off all that incoming video, track it for legal reasons, deliver it to a courthouse. And there maybe buying, you know, 10 disc drives, hard disc drives at a time. That person I think, would love to have something more secure like this.

Okay. Because the the volume of media that they’re actually handling, plugging and plugging. This solves that problem. Okay. It’s more secure if you drop both of them, this type of cartridge is more secure than your standard, uh, retail USB drive.

[00:40:49] Prasanna Malaiyandi: So Pat, would it make sense for a home user to use RDX?

[00:40:56] Pay Mayock: I hate to say yes quickly, but the answer is yes, because you’re looking at the cost of your system, whatever laptop you have, et cetera. Um, to be able to get a docking station, for under 300 bucks and then put all your, all your events on a cartridge and keep it on the shelf. That makes sense. I, I would find it hard to understand someone buying a, a tape drive.

Like an LTO-8 and using that for their content. It’s just so much capacity. Now, if you have that much capacity. Great. Okay. But it’s overkill. And the investment costs to begin is high.

[00:41:39] Prasanna Malaiyandi: Yep.

[00:41:40] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah. The, The, average, the average home, I would say it would be the, it would be a power home user, right? Someone who’s creating content. Um, although in today’s day and age, that could be my granddaughter. Who’s nine.

[00:41:55] Pay Mayock: I know.

[00:41:56] W. Curtis Preston: right. They’re all, they’re all independent filmmakers at home these days. Right. Um, So, all right, well, on that note, uh, I think we’ll round things out here and say, thanks Pat, for coming on the podcast

[00:42:10] Pay Mayock: Hey, thanks for having me enjoy talking about it anytime.

[00:42:15] W. Curtis Preston: and thanks Prasanna for a, your a great questions as always

[00:42:19] Prasanna Malaiyandi: I try. I try and I hope you feel better soon, Curtis.

[00:42:23] W. Curtis Preston: me too. Uh, and thanks to our listeners and be sure to subscribe so that you can restore it all.


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