Effects of Prolonged Media Usage and Long-term Planning on Archival Systems
In archival systems, storage media are often replaced much earlier than their expected service life in exchange for other benefits of new media, such as higher capacity, bandwidth, and I/O operations per second, or lower costs. In an era of decreasing media density growth rates, retiring media early by considering only short-term benefits while discarding potential long-term cost benefits could have a negative long-term impact on an archival system's economics. To extend an archival system's life, at low cost, while limiting performance degradation, we suggest extending media lifetime past manufacturer recommendations as well as increasing the horizon for planning and provisioning future media purchases.
We present a cost-benefit analysis of the impact of prolonged media usage and long-term planning. Through Monte Carlo simulation, we simulate the behavior of an archival system using tapes, hard disk drives (HDDs), solid state devices (SSDs), and Blu-ray discs. We show that leaving older media in the archival system makes economic sense for SSDs without significantly affecting reliability; we show cost improvements of approximately 10% for SSDs for a low annual media density growth rate, such as 5%, which would have been a loss of 35%, for a high annual media density rate, such as 20%. We show that, for SSDs and hard disks, the optimal planning time of an archival system is at least as long as the media service life. Combining prolonged media usage with an extended planning horizon reduced costs by 15% for a system using SSDs.