Any business that doesn’t back up its data on a regular basis is asking for trouble. A small business needs a backup strategy that is reliable, cost effective and has long term data retention. The choice is basically, disk versus tape. There are pros and cons to both, but which one offers the best long term small business backup strategy?
Disk-based data protection solutions are popular. There is the belief that disk is superior to tape, which has had its day by now. Tape is anything but dead. It is still the backup and recovery method of choice for thousands of large and small organizations, and seems likely to remain as such for many years to come.
Tape myths that need straightening out
Many myths have arisen about tape that need straightening out. When a small business turns to an IT specialist for advice on the best backup method, he is increasingly likely to be pushed in the direction of disk. That may be the best solution for a particular business, but it is not necessarily the case. Here are some of the myths about tape that need to be corrected:
1 – Disk drives are faster than tape drives. They are not. When it comes to raw speed in backing up data, tape wins every time. It is in the write-heavy situations of performing backups that tape is superior. Disk drives, it has to be said do perform better at accessing random bits of data, but we are comparing backups here.
Tape is simple. Its backup strategy is simply to record the data in a linear fashion, from beginning to end without any fuss. Unlike disk, it doesn’t need any kind of RAID strategy, which can slow things down. It simply starts the backup and keeps going until it has finished with nothing to distract it in between.
2 – Disk drives have more reliability and resilience than tape. Disk certainly has a lot of things going on. There’s usually a RAID strategy that protects the disk from failure, for example, but all the bits designed to retain data integrity are themselves exposing the entire system to risk, for if any one of them fails, the backup is usually lost.
Tape, by comparison, doesn’t use a RAID strategy. It can make a second backup on completion of the first one. That will take more time, but it also ensures better data protection solutions all round. One tape might fail, but both are highly unlikely to fail together. Tape offers a better disaster recovery solution.
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