As a physical medium, tape is incredibly portable and makes sense if you plan to store backups in distinct geographical locations, which may be a part of your disaster recovery strategy. Tape write speeds can often times be better than their disk counterparts, depending on the tier of disk storage you’ve chosen. The “tape is dead” argument can hardly be made in this regard, but let’s dig into its limitations.
While tape may give you the upper hand for write speeds in some cases, seek and read speeds can leave much to be desired. Where seek speeds on disk can be almost instantaneous, tape is still a very physical process. Despite the proliferation of LTFS (Linear Tape File System), supporting technology hasn’t brought tape to the same level of efficiency as disk in this way.
The Truth About Cost
While tape as a medium can be cost effective, the surrounding costs – including labor, media, and storage – can add up to a prohibitive situation. Perhaps the biggest “cost” of tape is time. From the time it takes to manually create backup schedules, to waiting for offsite backups to come through, to seek times during the recovery process – tape backups have their limitations and can end up setting you back more than you initially bargained for.
Depending on the size of your data, the cost of cloud storage can be cost-prohibitive or can determine the extent of your backup strategy. Transferring data to the cloud can also be time-consuming and resource-intensive, which can initially limit productivity and mean more downtime.
A cloud-based backup strategy can eliminate the hassle of managing tapes, the stress over invalidated backups, and the risks of human error that stems from so many people being involved in the laborious process. One of the biggest advantages of cloud backups is the simplified workflow. It allows you to automate and monitor backups from a single web-based portal. If flexibility is your top concern, then cloud backup is what you need to consider. Being able to scale quickly and easily as your data needs change can ultimately reduce your capital expenditure.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each backup option will help you understand how to use them to your organization’s advantage. Sometimes just one doesn’t meet your needs, so consider the scenarios where tape may fit better and those when disk is the way to go. Do you need quick, immediate and flexible access to your data, but can’t do it without the offsite security? If the answer is yes, then it is something you should consider when you talk with Meridian’s experts.