Just wondering the why someone would still use a tape drive to backup their server

Posted on 2011-10-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Just wondering the benefits, if any, of using a tape drive...why not use an external drive instead...thanks
Question by:Daniel Fishkin
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    There a couple of pro and con's to both solutions here are couple. It come down to how long you want to keep your data, how many set's you want to keep as well as how quickly you need it.

    Tape-Based Backup Benefits Include:

        Inexpensive and virtually unlimited media size (via libraries)
        Small form factor
        Multiple redundant backup sets
        Easy off-site media storage

    Disk-Based Backup Benefits Include:

        Users are no longer relying on tape as the primary storage medium
        Backups can be faster depending on the type of network
        Restores are almost always faster (no tapes to find and mount)
        Network backups provide superior disaster recovery protection

    You will need to way up what is best for your enviroment
    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    Hey there jibboo1908 - very good question, and the answers include Compliance and Price.

    Many companies are required to archive data going back several years, and tapes hold a lot more data at a better cost when it comes to storage and archiving.  Think about something like LTO5, which is a tape cartridge a bit smaller than a standard hard drive.  It holds around 1.6 Terabytes uncompressed data and you could quite easily get a bit over 2 Terabytes of standard data with compression.  You can also have many tapes in a library (I myself have a two 40 tape libraries), and it places the tapes in the relevant drives for writing.

    Transporting the tapes does not have to be done as carefully as transporting hard drives.  If you drop a tape cartridge, there is lower risk of damage than if you drop a hard drive.  Tape cartridges are also lighter, and you can pack many of them in foam boxes to make transportation easier.

    Tapes also stream at a much faster speed than say - a USB portable hard drive would, so your backup window would be short.  An LTO5 drive requires SAS 6 Gbps channel in order to operate at peak efficiency.

    Tapes also have a higher MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) than hard drives do.  You could really get unlucky and buy a hard drive that dies after 2 months, but tapes will last 10+ years, especially the monthly and yearly ones you put away for ages.

    When choosing tape backups versus hard drives , you really need to ask yourself how much is it going to cost you in time, money and space to back everything up if you use a hard drive or if you use a tape drive.  Do you want to be able to go back a few months?  Does your company need archiving ability?  What about ISO compliance?  Are you governed by a financial body that requires you to keep backups for 7 years?  

    Your personal or corporate needs will define what solution you go for in the long run.

    Author Closing Comment

    by:Daniel Fishkin
    Thanks for the is greatly appreciated...

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