Tape vs. Online Backup


Tape vs. Online Backup

Recent advancements in network speeds within Australia, have seen a large increase in the number of organisations moving from tape to online backup. Improved broadband capabilities have reduced the previously lengthy backup window associated with online backup.

Where historically backup windows for tape based backup were shorter than online, the opposite is now true in most instances. The rollout of the NBN will only further reduce the backup window for online backup.

One of the main issues with tape backup is the number of mechanical parts contained within a tape drive. Mechanical devices by their nature are prone to wear and tear, which can lead to expensive hardware replacements. Although the software utilised for tape backup is automatic, the physical process of unloading and reloading tapes can place a considerable time and labour expense on a business.

Online backup on the other hand provide many advantages over traditional tape backup. Online backup allows an organisation to outsource the entire backup process though a remote access connection.

However, the biggest advantage of online backup is data restoration.  Restoring data from tape is an extremely difficult and time consuming task. Catalogues need to be restored, servers need to be rebuilt, and data needs to be found. Finding an individual file on a 4TB LTO6 is an arduous and time consuming task, which can take weeks. Online backup, on the other hand, allows a server to be rebuilt in a few hours.

Tape vs. Online Backup Table:

  Tape Backup Online Backup
Ease of Data Restoration Time consuming and difficult to restore data. Files can easily be restored   over a network connection.
Maintenance and Management Requires technicians to design, manage and maintain tape backup   processes and recover data. Management of backups takes   less time and can be outsourced to an experienced IT consultant.
Reliability High mechanical and write   failures. Less mechanical parts and   less movement of media leads to improved reliability.
Scalability Limited to capacity of tape   drive and media type High scalability,   disks can easily be added to storage arrays.
Security Risk of theft when   moving tapes between premise Risk of hacking when   maintained on a network connection.


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