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Portable long-term backup

This advice discusses portable/mobile disk technologies as a substitute for tape for long-term, off-site archival storage.

Have you looked into portable/mobile disk technologies as a substitute for tape for long-term, off-site archival storage?
This technology offers promising features, but there are still a few gaps that may prompt many organizations to wait a while before widely adopting this technology. Capacity is still fairly low compared to tape (most portable disk drives are currently limited to 100 GB). The cost per gigabyte of storage is also significantly higher at approximately $2.20 per gigabyte (U.S.) for portable disk versus $0.29 per gigabyte for tape media (using LTO2 media cost for comparison). It should be noted that these cost estimates do not include the cost of tape or disk subsystems.

Another aspect that must be considered is how much resilience portable disk technology offers compared to tape. Disk drives may require some special transport and handling considerations with respect to vibration. Last but not least, backup software support (integration) for portable disk drives will also play a major role in acceptance and proliferation of the technology.

This was last published in April 2005

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