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Vol. 5 No. 7 September 2006

How faster tape drives can slow down your backups

With so many disk-to-disk backup options available, it just doesn't make sense to back up directly to tape over the network. A LAN-based backup system can't deliver the throughput required to stop a modern tape drive from "shoe-shining." Simply put, you can't back up via a LAN directly to today's high-speed tape drives without an interruption in the data stream; this requires the tape to be repositioned on the drive's heads, which causes a "stop-start" or "shoe-shine" motion on the tape device that slows performance. To record a high-quality signal to tape, the recording head must be moved across the media very quickly. This is why modern tape drives have a minimum speed; if they went slower than their rated minimum, they wouldn't record a good quality signal and would lose data. This is an unchangeable fact about tape drives: They have a minimum usable speed. That's why all tape drives designed for large-scale backups have two speeds: stop and very fast. This also applies to variable-speed tape drives. If you have a 50MB/sec ...

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Features in this issue

  • Tricky backup for SharePoint

  • CDP: Look before you leap

    Some pundits have postulated that continuous data protection (CDP) will replace backup. But is that just new technology hyperbole or is CDP a must-have technology?

  • Backup-to-disk performance tuning

    Disk-based backup can lower costs, reduce complexity and add scalability. But to achieve top performance, you'll need to do lots of benchmarking and watch for poorly configured production storage.

Columns in this issue

  • Backup best practices are always evolving

    Some new advances in backup, such as virtual tape libraries, represent evolutionary enhancements to the traditional backup process, while others like continuous data protection and single-instance storage are potentially far more transformational.

  • 10 points to consider before deploying an e-mail archive

    Selecting an e-mail archiving application based solely on features and functions may result in unexpected administration costs. Consider these 10 points before deploying an e-mail archiver.

  • Some small tech upstarts might play big roles

    Storage Bin: The big storage vendors are always trying to steal a piece of each other's pie. But some small tech upstarts might play big parts in determining who comes out on top.