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The Many Frustrations with Relying on Tape Backup

It’s evident having a solid backup solution for your business data is not just important, but crucial in order to ensure the survival of your company in the event of a disaster. One backup solution involves using a magnetic tape medium to store data. Unfortunately, tape brings some inconveniences that make other solutions more appealing.

thumb_086218b2ac4369b7cefd2acbee0be8b1It’s evident having a solid backup solution for your business data is not just important, but crucial in order to ensure the survival of your company in the event of a disaster. One backup solution involves using a magnetic tape medium to store data. Unfortunately, tape brings some inconveniences that make other solutions more appealing.

Tape Requires Human Interaction

This may seem silly, but it’s true. In order to successfully run your nightly backup, someone needs to replace the previous night’s tape with a new one. If it’s not done, the backup simply won’t run. Offsite storage involves taking the tape home. This means all of your business’s data is resting on a pocket-sized tape that anyone can get their hands on.

Daily Snapshots

With tape, your backups really need to be ran after hours. Things can get messy if files are in use, inboxes are open, and data is being updated at the same time the backup is running. This isn’t true for a NAS Disk-to-Disk solution such as our BDR, but it sure can be a limitation with tape. This means you can only accomplish nightly backups, so if you do lose a significant amount of data, you essentially lose an entire day.

Slow Restoration Times

When the tape medium was popular for audio, if you wanted to play a specific song, you needed to fast forward to it. You couldn’t just skip to a specific spot on the tape instantly like you can with CDs and mp3 players. Tape backup works the same exact way; if you want to restore your data, you need to go through the entire tape. It’s a slow, labor intensive process, especially if you need multiple tapes to archive your data.

Tapes Degrade over Time

While the same can be said about any storage medium (unless you are chiseling your business contacts into stone tablets, in which case, stop it!) tapes certainly have degradation issues. About the only digital medium that degrades worse is the Rewritable CD/DVD. It’s recommended that every 1-2 years you replace your tapes, however, we’ve run into instances where we’ve had to restore from a much younger tape only to find the data was corrupted. Couple this with the slow restoration time that makes it virtually impossible to effectively test your archived data, and you could be in for a rude awakening when you need your data.

It’s Not Even the Cheaper Solution Anymore

Tape used to be the best solution because it was cheaper per gigabyte to store your data compared to hard disks. That hasn’t been the case for a long time. Once you take into consideration how much potential failure comes bundled with tape and how labor intensive it is to run, manage, maintain, and restore, you are much better off cost-wise going with a solution that might cost a little more but provides you a better result.

Small and medium-sized businesses have been making the switch from Tape and other outdated backup solutions for a more automated, fail-proof system. Check out our Backup and Disaster Recovery system, which takes several backups a day and can restore data quickly and effortlessly. It can even assume the role of your downed server in the event of a hardware malfunction. Want to learn more? Give PACE Technical Services a call at 905.763.7896.

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