Tape's not dead. It doesn't even smell bad

Disk can cure today's backup pain, but disk creates its own set of issues.

The number of times that someone has declared tape "dead" probably numbers in the thousands. So it should come as no surprise that when I inquired of one tape vendor how much tape they sell annually the vendor's response was, "We sell a *&^% load of it".

The vendor's response illustrates that despite all of the stories about tape's demise and disk's ascension as the main backup target, tape is still alive and well. Even now it is still easier to find someone to discuss tape management than it is to locate a company that can share their experiences of using disk as its primary backup target.

This is not to diminish the value of using disk as a primary backup target. Users that deploy disk consistently report that their success ratios for backups and restores climb to 95% or higher. Yet at this juncture companies should still view disk's place in the backup process as a temporal resting place for data and not yet a permanent one.

Disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) is cited as the logical way for companies to ease disk into their backup environment but that is still easier said than done. Storage systems configured as disk, file servers and virtual tape libraries are all options from which companies can choose and more than one might be the right choice. Then once selected, implementing it and managing the movement of data from disk to tape and back again is no picnic either.

Disk can cure today's backup pain but disk creates its own set of issues. Haphazardly throwing disk at backup problems may provide short term relief but odds are that companies will spend a *&^% load of money trying to fix the new problems that disk just created.

Jerome Wendt is the president and lead analyst at DCIG. You may read his blogs at www.dciginc.com.

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