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Time to lose tape

There comes a time in the life of most technologies when it is time to say goodbye.

It's time to say goodbye to tape as your primary backup target.

That notion became clear late last month after spending lots of time with hundreds of storage managers at the "Backup School Hits the Road" seminars in Toronto, San Francisco and Boston. Either that, or I was brainwashed by GlassHouse Technologies' backup sage W. Curtis Preston, the main speaker at all three events.

Curtis has been preaching the merits of disk-based backup for some time. But, many of you I spoke with have only just started looking at disk. Many of you remain in an all-tape world.

Ah, disk is too expensive, you say. Curtis dispelled that quickly by firing off some numbers. According to Curtis, a midrange tape library runs about $4 to $11 per gigabyte (GB) while disk prices are hovering around $3 to $11 per GB. If anything, the prices for disk and tape are running neck and neck. But when you factor in recovery time, the price of disk becomes a LOT more attractive.

If we can begin to agree that disk should be the primary backup target, then we can concede tape is not going away. Tape is great for a lot of things. It's mobile, for the most part can be read back over time and isn't subject to the types of damage disk is susceptible to. One argument heard on the road was that even if you do implement disk-based backup, you still need to pay for tape in a disk-to-disk-to-tape environment. Fair enough.

But because tape is mobile, it can be transported anywhere. And as the Bank of America and Time Warner found out -- anywhere also means in the hands of the malicious.

Not surprisingly, many of the questions Curtis received from the storage managers in the audience were about encryption, archiving and security.

If you are interested in learning more about how disk can fit into your environment or are interested in such topics as using NDMP for filer backup, archiving, snapshots, remote office backup and more, take a look at our Advanced Backup School. These are the same lessons Curtis Preston gave on the road.

Have a good week,


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