This will probably be a somewhat contentious post, but so be it.
Tape should still be a part of EVERY backup routine. There, I've said it. And it's true.
I know there are many of you who think that disk-based backups are superior in every way, including speed, cost, reliability, and expandability. Some of you may think that tape backups are not just second-rate, but entirely useless in 2014 with virtualisation, failover clusters, SAN replication and Veeam backups. But...you would be wrong.
Even Google and Amazon still use tape backups for archiving, and it has saved their bacon more than once.
Official Gmail Blog: Gmail back soon for everyone
Why the Google Incident Proves Relevance of Tape Storage | B&L
As stated in the blog articles, one of the big life savers of tape is that by its nature it is off-line and can easily be store off-site. Failover clusters, replication, and automated real-time backups won't save you if all copies of files are deleted, corrupted, or otherwise destroyed.
But, I have multiple disk-based backups you say and then there are all of those inferiorities of tape you say. Well, some of those inferiorities are myth and disk-based backups aren't so portable when you are backing up TBs of data. Go over 4TB and you need a large and heavy RAID or JBOD array. Those aren't so portable. A bunch of LTO6 tapes - much more so.
And, it is likely that tape storage backup sizes will begin to increase rapidly in the near future with LTO8, LTO9 and beyond. Not only that, but tape loaders / libraries are dropping dramatically in price making such technology within the reach of SMEs and Education.
Disk-pushers, get reel: Even GOOGLE relies on tape
And, if you still aren't convinced of the value of tape, then there may be a Blu Ray backup solution in your future.
Facebook uses 10,000 Blu-ray discs to store 'cold' data | PCWorld
Regardless, it is critically important to keep at least two copies of your backups and at least one of them must be off-line and hopefully off-site.
I think the real thing here is that trusting in replication and duplication of live data as a backup system (using DFS-R, VM replicas or other means) is the false economy.
I consider our backups that go over from the SAN to the NAS box to be isolated as multiple versions are kept and at no time does the live data have any chance to influence the backups.
All the same, every 3 months a tape backup runs saving everything to long term media
Tape backup restoration is known to have a high failure rate. I much prefer cloud backup due to the disaster proofing that it offers. However, I could see the potential for monthly archiving with the new 1tb disc being developed.
1TB per disc: Sony and Panasonic team up on next-gen Blu-ray | ExtremeTech
tape backups are not required if you do your job properly and have a robust backup solution in place.
Cloud-based backup achieves the off-site requirement, but not the off-line requirement unless you are manually connecting or rotating your cloud backup target each time. Another weakness of cloud backup is backup and restore speed. Have you ever restored from a cloud-based backup? LTO-6 runs at 160Mb/s and most people don't have a connection that is as fast or faster than that. Cloud restores could take days or weeks in some cases. Now, 160Mb/s isn't lightning fast compared to 1Gb transfer rates from disk, but tape is meant to be a secondary offline/archival backup. So, backup to disk then back that up to tape, rotate the tape media and store off-site.I much prefer cloud backup due to the disaster proofing that it offers.
Last edited by seawolf; 16th March 2014 at 08:16 PM.
Thankfully I have never had to restore from a tape.
The cloud backup we use has a retention policy that we set ourselves (we chose 90 days but it can be unlimited). This means that ALL versions of a file are stored which gives extra protection against viruses etc.
Also the company that we use will ship a drive out to us in case of a disaster. We just have to pay the cost of the courier or pick it up ourselves (about 25 miles away).
Can you pm the name of this uber cloud provider you keep mentioning plz
..anyway, the issue for me is the word "required", you've got 3 options, disk, tape, cloud. If you're going to the cloud, of course tape seems a bit redundant, but that all depends on your capabilities with the cloud....do you have the internet connection capable of backing up your incremental changes every day? etc etc. If you're going to disk, then it all depends on how crucial your data really is, where it's stored (for example if it's the in the same building as your live data and you dont use tapes, you're making a huge mistake), whether you even have the option of storing your disk backups away from the live data (some people may not have the luxury of setting up storage in an entirely separate building)
Overall, it's entirely down to how your situation pans out based on the above and many other factors. So there's no "doing your job properly" about it, doing your job properly, is ensuring you have a valid reliable backup if the worst should happen, end of.
LTO-7 is also expected to land this year with 6.4TB raw backup capacity, 16TB compressed and data rates of 315Mb/s and 788Mb/s respectively. Whether disk-based or cloud-based, I just can't see a more cost-effective archival medium than Tape. Disk-based is not portable and cloud-based is expensive and slow for backing up 20TB+ of data.
Last edited by Arthur; 17th March 2014 at 06:44 AM.
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