How Tape Delivers the Optimal Balance of Price and Performance For Business Resiliency

Paul Gillin

The key considerations in backup and recovery strategies are performance and price. Many organizations use disk as a primary backup medium, often in conjunction with a high-availability solution like replication. This provides good performance but at a high cost. A new report demonstrates how organizations can improve resiliency while also saving money by using tape more strategically.

Disk is unquestionably faster than tape in restore operations, but the real performance difference is often less than meets the eye, writes Storage Switzerland, a leading storage analyst firm focused on emerging storage categories, big data, virtualization and cloud computing.

In its new ebook, Reintroducing Tape To The Modern Data Center, the firm makes the case that storing primary backups to disk and moving all other instances to tape is not only less expensive but more secure, robust and even faster than keeping multiple backups on disk.

For one thing, most recovery operations require only the most recent backup. Keeping multiple versions on disk is wasteful because anything older than the primary backup can be more economically archived to tape. Disk backup vendors use technologies like deduplication to lower their cost per gigabyte, but deduplication imposes performance penalties that reduce their speed advantage. The superior economics of tape means deduplication isn’t necessary. For full system recoveries, the performance differences between the two media are negligible, the firm says.

Tape works best when drives are full, so organizations that plan their tape archives to maximize data saturation can realize the optimum performance of that medium. This can be done by directly attaching the tape library to the ingestion system.

Spinning disks also constantly consume power, whereas tape cartridges require none except when in use. Finally, tape has significant security and recoverability advantages. Tape drives can easily be transported and stored in a secure and climate-controlled off-site location. This process is comparatively expensive or even impractical when using disk storage. Over the course of 10 years – which is the service life of most tape libraries – “the savings and long-term security of integrating tape into the backup architecture are undeniable,” the analysts assert.

Learn more by downloading the ebook here. Storage Switzerland also hosted a related on-demand webcast where experts from Iron Mountain, Fuji Film and Spectra Logic shared their advice on the benefits of tape in the modern data center.

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