W. Curtis Preston on physical tape

April 9, 2009 – 1:33 pm

W. Curtis Preston recently wrote an article on the state of physical tape for SearchDataBackup. He talks about the technologies that backup software vendors have created technology to more effectively stream tape drives. As I posted before, if you cannot stream your tape drives, their performance will decline dramatically.

In enterprise environments, performance is the key driver of data protection. You must ensure that you can backup and recover massive amounts of data in prescribed windows, and tape’s inconsistent performance and complex manageability makes it difficult as a primary backup target. This fact can also make tape a challenging solution in small environments.

The problem with tape drive streaming is a common one and Preston agrees that it is the key reason for adopting disk-based backup technologies. Our customers typically see a dramatic improvement in performance with SEPATON’s VTL solutions since they are no longer limited by the streaming requirements of tape.

Even with new disk and deduplication technologies, most customers are still using tape today and will do so into the future. However, tape will likely be used more for archiving than for secondary storage.  Deduplication enables longer retention, but most customers are probably not going to retain more than a year online. Tape is a good medium for deep archive where you store data for years, but is complex and costly as a target for enterprise backup.

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