I was once told that if you cannot explain a subject without resorting to complex words, then you probably do not really understand it yourself. Over the years, we have educated and supported our myriad customers, who have appreciated our efficient and informative service.
The tech world is filled with “buzz words” and statements that mislead and promote a very false sense of security. For example: “Our data is safe and we can recover quickly, because we have a backup tape.” In a very strict sense you can restore data from tape. The question now becomes what exactly does that mean.
The truth is that tape drives are slow and a technology that have been around since 1951 and have not really changed. Tape drives and the media that goes in them have gotten smaller and can store billions of times the amount of data. Yet they still must seek through the entire tape to get at the information that you want, and that takes time. If you have a catastrophic server failure and need to restore from tape you will need to be restoring to the exact same hardware, otherwise you need to restore the operating system, applications and then recover your data. This add valuable time that you do not have to the restoration process. Does that really make sense?
Capacity is another issue with tape. When you purchase a tape system they tell you what the compressed capacity of the tape is, which is twice the native capacity. This is often misleading because in our experience you never actually reach the compressed storage capacity. One of the leading tape drive manufacturer’s largest tape drives costs about $2,000. In addition, the tapes cost about $90 each (almost $1,000 for two weeks of retention). That provides 800 Gigabytes (GB) or .8TB. Most desktop computers come equipped with a Terabyte (TB) hard drive storage. So what happens when you need more storage? Do you have someone swap the tape mid-backup process? Do you spend an additional $5,000 to get a tape library that will hold more tapes, and lose your initial $2,000 investment?
We ask you to consider the following questions before making this very common and dangerous assumption that tape will resolve my backup and recover issues:
- Are your backup tapes tested frequently to see if they will actually work?
- What is your plan for restoring data if the tape is not useable?
- Even if the tape works, what else needs to happen to get you back up and running again?
- How long to get another server, if yours has a meltdown?
- How long to reload the operating system?
- How long will it take to reload the applications on the server?
- How long to restore the data from tape?
- Undocumented changes exist in every network and on every server. Those changes you make on-the-fly to quickly resolve an issue. How long will it take to restore those changes?
If you can’t answer all the questions, honestly, it’s time to call us. We provide solutions that save time and money, and cut through the meaningless jargon. Call us today: 860-450-1737. We’ll analyze your backup process and offer the very best solutions to keep your business up and running.
Christopher J. Tarricone
Director of Technical Services