Disk to Disk Backup or Disk to tape

Posted on 2004-10-31
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I am currently looking to introduce a storage solution in my company, and i am confused as to which route to take should i in your opinion go the traditional disk to tape scenario or has disk to disk technology evolved to the point of safe usage
Question by:sheikhshake
    LVL 91

    Accepted Solution

    That depends on different isssues : what is the backup size? must the backup be physically remove from the building? and so on. For a medium sized backup you can try a Rev drive :

    or a NAS system :
    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    A good answer may lay under a few basic facts:
    a. What is the capacity of the data you want to backup? (i.e. 1MB ~ 1TB).
    b. What do you backup? (i.e. Databases; Music; generic data).
    c. How fast do you want to backup? (i.e. Speed is an issue or not).
    d. Is a reliability is a factor? (i.e. Reliability is a direct function of money).
    e. What is your budget?

    What is the big difference between Tapes and Hard Drives?
    The answer is mainly speed. Hard drives are much fatster than tapes and has bigger capacity. Also, data is accessable in a much faster and simpler manner.
    Today, you can even take hard drives off site useing the USB technology thus keepping your-self an off-site backup (which is an important factor in case of a site disaster).
    Also, hard drives can be used in various ways as backup units: As the external drive (USB or FW), as part of a RAID system and forth.

    So why wont we use Hard drives instead of tapes?
    The answer is simple; reliability. Tapes are much reliable than hard drives and only due to the fact that tapes has much less moving components compared to hard drive.

    Is there any OTHER way to backup data?
    Yes; CD/RWs or DVD/RWs up to the capacity of 9GBs.
    What are the advantages of such backup? Cheap, fast and reliable. The only drawback is capacity.

    How do I choose the best method and technology?
    The 1 Million $ answer lays on the answers to the questions asked above;

    Well, i did a small table (contribution to EE) ;):

    | Capacity               |Data type             |Speed importance  |Reliability                      |Budget       | What technology to use?                    |
    |Up to 600MB          |All                       |            +              |Daily backup, reliable     |Up to 40$   | CD/RW Burner                                  |
    |Up to 9GB              |All                       |            +              |Daily backup, reliable     |Up to 70$   | DVD/RW Burner                                |
    |Up to 240GB          |All                       |            +              |Daily Backup, not reliable|Up to 300$ |External Hard drive                             |
    |No space limit        |All                       |          +++            |Real time, not reliable   |$$$$$$$$$ |RAID 1 ~ 53 (depens on the $$$)         |
    |No space limit       |SAN/NAS/DBs        |           -               |Daily backup, reliable     |$$$$$$$$$ |Tape library                                       |
    |Up to 200GB         |All                        |           -                |Daily backup, reliable     |Up to 600$ |LTO/DLT                                            |

    To sum things up:
    If you have to backup small amount of space (up to 9GB) than, the best solution for you is DVD/RW. Otherwise, look at the table above.

    A great comparetion TAPE technology article made by Tom's Hardware:

    Hope that helped

    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, wrong link (though, you can view ONE product as an external hard drive):

    The correct link:


    Author Comment

    Its a medium sized back up with max 100 gb of data my question really is that is d2d just as relaible as d2t because eveen rev has ejectable disk drives
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    in my opinion, disk to disk is more reliable, and faster
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lieven Embrechts
    Backup to disk becomes more & more attractive. It all depends of the result you want:

    - quick restore: disk-to disk backup with synchronization tool
          advantage: very fast
          disadvantage: old file-versions are overwritten

    - restore of previous versions: use eg windows2003 snapshot option
           advantage: restore previous version
           disadvantage: more backup disk space required

    - restore in case of disaster: use an off-site medium (tape or nas-box on remote site)
           advantage: in case of total disaster you still have data
           disadvantage: more hardware investments

    Nowadays, it's probably the best to have a combination of:
    - d2d backup with synchronisation or snapshots (as required)
    - off-site backup at a frequence (daily/weekly/monthly?) that you think is best.

    Also don't forget to test the restore (eg. of system disks) and plan how to reinstall apps. in case of total disaster.

    Just my 2 cents.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    go for a disk to disk, but consider a 5 1/2 " caddy for holding the disk/s in. Coupled with several 120gb harddisks you could do any sequential backups you found neccessary as well as being able to lock the disks up in a fire-proof cabinet for safe storage, meaning that on total failure you could restore all data.

    as for the backup, symnatecs ghostpc does a decently quick job at backing up disk2disk, and will also do disk2image file so you could compress the 100gb down a bit.

    hope you find your answer among all these comments!
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I wouldn't trust an IOMEGA product to back up my MP3 collection after the ZIP drive click of death debacle.

    With removable trays and drives as cheap as they are I'd get 200GB drives at ~$110 each. vs ~$80 for a 120GB drive.
    Do not skimp on the trays here either get metal not plastic if you want them to be reliable and last through all the changes.
    For about $1500 you can get 10 drives/trays and do daily backups to 2 HD's to leave one on site and take one off site.
    A drive in a fireproof safe can be destroyed by the heat of a fire. This would compensate for any small difference in reliability.
    This should be close to the cost for a tape system.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Take a look at Symantec’s products like Drive image (ghost 9.0) for desktop solutions and Symantec V2i Protector® Server Edition. This is a good way of doing images of your HD and you can schedule it to run at night. (No need to shutdown your server). Restore times are fast and you can restore only the file you want in the image.

    I would recommend a solution where you have this kind of software that back’s-up on HD’s and use a tape backup to store the image offsite, and for archiving. If budget allows!

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