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Vol. 2 No. 1 March 2003

What's better for backup: tape or disk?

Recently, an increasing number of clients have been asking me about replacing tape with disk in some--or all--of their backup infrastructure. Until recently, the cost of tape was far less per unit of storage than any other media. It is easily transportable, making off-site storage possible. In addition, newer tape technologies have increased both speed and capacity dramatically. So why do people want to replace it? Typical complaints about tape focus on four areas: Performance. Because it's serial, tape is perceived--rightly or wrongly--to be slower than disk. Reliability. Everyone who has dealt with backups has experienced tape failure: they wear out, get mishandled or just go bad. Handling. Removing cloned tapes from a library, adding scratch tapes and cataloging bar codes--tape handling can be a nightmare, especially given the ever-increasing number of tapes. Cost. Tape media costs and tape off-site storage costs are budget line items that continue to soar. However, upon closer analysis, one finds that these really aren't ...

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Features in this issue

  • Tap the SAN for File Storage

    Used to be, if you wanted to give users a central place to store files, you had two options: put them on a generic file server, or on a NAS device.

  • Sony Joins Super Drive Game

    The market for super drives is alive and kicking, according to a recent report from Freeman Reports, with unit shipments more than doubling from 2001 to 2002.

  • Symmetrix DMX: Is it Hot or Not?

    The year is still young, but EMC's Symmetrix DMX announcement is arguably 2003's biggest storage story.

  • Surveillance Gradually Going Digital

    Security-conscious companies who started out using analog videotapes, are gradually making the switch to digital, offloading to digital tape and occasionally, cheap ATA disk.

  • Ease backup pain

    OK, maybe there's no cure, but a variety of bandages and pills can help. We look at the major backup packages and analyze what each does best.

  • Bring DBAs into the SAN era

    by  Jim Booth

    You may not want DBAs poking around inside your fabric, but the more they understand about SANs, the better they'll be.

Columns in this issue