The Backup Debate: Tapes vs. Online

4 min readReading Time: 4 minutes

I must admit it’s a regular source of surprise to me to discover how poorly set up some businesses are to cope with a potential loss of data, the blood and guts of their organization without which they would surely be left gasping for air. Ideally, management would invest time and effort into a backup system that offers reliable protection against data loss that may result from crises such as fire, flood or electronic malfunction.

But, like so many things during a time of transition, it’s a challenge to know which is the preferred route: new or old? Old-fashioned tape backup or online disaster recovery?

Data loss is very common

Some statistics suggest that a full two-thirds of Internet users have suffered it, catastrophically. What’s more, research by the University of Texas reports that only 6% of companies that do, survive. Just the same, the Gartner Group estimates that just 35% of small to medium size businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Traditionally, magnetic tape has been the medium of choice for backup. Simple to use and unencumbered by lots of moving parts, tape enjoys a solid reputation for its capacity and durability. Tape is a sequential-access medium, so even though access times may be wanting, the rate of continuously writing or reading data can actually be very fast. And because it’s been around so long, its peculiarities and limitations are well understood.

But tapes have no shortage of weaknesses

Tape backups are highly labour intensive and the real cost associated with producing them isn’t generally taken into account.

Worse still, organizations engaged in systematic tape-backup activities often neglect to test the results of their efforts, and are only made aware of their failings when they go to restore order after a major data loss and discover that the data were never backed up.

According to research from the Gartner Group, 71% of all tape restores fail.

I’m not surprised to witness a shift from tapes to online backups

Online backup solutions are every bit as secure but come with a slew of cost-saving, flexibility and security bonuses, not the least of which is that users can perform backups remotely. While the occasional paranoid holdout might stick with tapes for a bit longer, this mode of data backup is clearly making way for the online model.

How We Can Help

To that end, 360 Visibility’s Online Backup Solution and CA XOsoft products offer a whack of business continuity, high availability and continuous data protection solutions to support your disaster- and data-recovery software planning needs. Our WANSync, WANSyncHA and Enterprise Rewinder product suites ensure uninterrupted access to all types of files, MS SQL and Oracle Databases and MS Exchanges servers, even in disaster mode. Each offers unique capabilities that promise failsafe data backup for a company’s blood and guts—without a drop spilt.

Jason Meilleur
Jason Meilleur
As the Senior Manager of Cloud Solutions at 360 Visibility, Jason has combined his technical and business development backgrounds to expand cloud based services and the company’s infrastructure customer base. Having a long standing family history of hard working entrepreneurs, Jason has developed a strong desire for business growth.
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