The future of tape - What small businesses need to consider
Mention Shakespeare and everyone shouts "To be or not to be."
Mention backup, and the question becomes, "To tape or not to tape?"
Many Ask... Is tape dead, or do tape-based backup systems still have a place in the modern small business?
Tape was once the only option because hard disks were incredibly expensive. And since old habits die hard, many believe tape is the default standard for backup even today.
Alas, poor Yorick, I knew tape well, but tape dwindles in usefulness today, close to useless in the modern small business. Just as VHS tapes gave way to DVDs, how many VHS tapes do you have hiding in the dark corners of your home? Tape backups and even hard disks are giving way to Internet-based backup – Data Vault Security, automatic backup with unlimited ‘pay as you store’ storage space has changed the backup dynamic in ways tape could never and can't match.
Let's take a look at how online backups protect your data more completely than tape systems. Then, for those who still watch movies on VHS and believe tape is the only "real" backup method, let's look at ways to keep tape systems alive just a little longer.
For all practical purposes, our online backup solution provides an infinite pool of data storage space. It’s the ultimate protection for any business.
There are many ways to backup files from individual computers and servers, but our backup systems make a full backup then track the changes. If you select your ‘My Documents’ folder for backup, the backup software will make a copy of all those files. When you change a file inside that folder only that file you changed is moved to the backup system. When you need to restore a file the backup software allows you to choose which version of the file you want to restore.
Tape backup systems spread the original and incremental changes across multiple tapes, at least when you start protecting a larger amount of data than you can store on one tape. The software tracks which tapes the changed bits are on, but chasing those tapes down and getting the bits put together in the right order can be tricky. And the older a tape is, the less reliable the restoration process.
With an unlimited amount of online storage, you bypass the scavenger hunt for the right tapes in the right order. The backup software places the original file and the incremental changes in the same backup storage pool, so all the bits are in the same place, even if they're not on the same physical hard disk at the data centre. Restorations go much faster and are much more reliable.
Offsite backup now means across the Internet backup. If you have two offices, you can copy files from Office A to Office B and vice versa.
If you are still using tapes for backup, at least follow some simple rules until you switch to Data Vault Security.
(1) Verify your backups. This means restore some files from a tape now and then to make sure you're getting a good backup and the tape is usable. Does that seem silly, since the software almost certainly said the backup was successful? Reusing the same tape too often will wear out the magnetic coating on the tape, and your backup will report good yet your restore will fail.
(2) Check the expiration date on your tape media. The manufacturer will say tapes can be reused X times. If you use them X+X times, you will be sad, very sad when the data doesn’t come back. Rotate your tapes, and clean the tape heads as recommended by the drive manufacturer as well.
If you can't afford to replace your tape backup system today with Data Vault Security, start saving money and keep your fingers crossed. Move to Data Vault Security as soon as you can for speed, convenience and total peace of mind. You may also want to add ‘Sentry’ to protect your mobile computers and mobile phones.
For further information, Free Data Security Scale Survey and 30 day Free Trial, contact: Terry Biddulph on 0800 880 3360
Discus Systems - providing support throughout the West Midlands, covering Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch.