Ten Reasons Why Tape Is Still The Best Way To Backup Data

7/23/14 | Posted by By Peri Grover, Director of Product Marketing

In my last blog post, we took a look back at the advances that have been made in tape technology over the past 60 years.  In this post, we’ll look at why tape storage still remains a critical part of the IT data protection infrastructure.

Studies show that 80-90% of the data we create is never accessed again. Nonetheless, as data retention requirements become more stringent in accordance with industry compliance laws (i.e., SOX or HIPPA) and corporate regulation, companies must store all of their data for longer periods of time—sometimes forever. This quickly snowballs into petabytes and exabytes of data that require storage, and disk-based solutions are simply too expensive for storing that much data.  In addition, users can’t afford to clog up their networks and servers with that mass of “less critical” data when they often have an immediate need for a smaller set of critical data.

With the amount of data being stored continuing to grow exponentially, tape offers some inherent advantages over disk-based technologies for long-term data storage, including:

  1. High capacity: LTO tape cartridges can now store up to 6.25TB on a single tape.  With Overland Storage’s NEO library, companies can now store over 6PB in less than 14 sq. ft. of data center floor space.
  2. Fast performance:  Data can now be retrieved in a matter of seconds or just a few minutes with the ability to move data at speeds of over 1TB/hr. per tape drive.
  3. Lower cost per GB: At an average cost of $.01/GB, tape storage is the most affordable option for storing massive amounts of data.
  4. Reduced energy costs: Studies repeatedly show that tape drives use less power and generate less heat than disk drives, resulting in energy costs that are 1/15th that of disk.
  5. Portability:  Tape is still the only medium on which you can reliably store data and move it offsite for disaster recovery purposes
  6. Greater reliability:  The error rate of tape technology is superior to that of disk; in addition, tape is immune to some of the pitfalls that disk is subject to (e.g., viruses), providing more reliable access to all of the data companies are storing long-term.
  7. Better longevity:  The physics of tape technology enable companies to extend its storage capacities far beyond what the physics of disk technologies will allow – making tape an ongoing data storage solution for the long haul.
  8. Scalability:  Not only do individual tapes gives users the ability to scale their storage capacity due to high capacities and backward read compatibility, but also tape libraries like Overland’s NEO Series allow users’ data storage solutions to scale with their demands and not be outstripped by them.  Tape allows you to grow into – not out of – your data storage requirements.
  9. Compatibility:  The combination of tape’s superior backward read compatibility and the fact that all major ISV applications (such as BackupExec, NetBackup, ARCserve, etc.) provide widespread support of tape-based storage results in the best possible return on investment.
  10. Good Enough For Google, Good Enough For You – In 2011, Google made headlines when it had to use tape to restore the email boxes of 40,000 users. With performance increasing significantly and storage capacities growing, companies will continue to rely on tape for offsite backup and disaster recovery.

When you combine tape’s superior storage capacities, low cost/GB, and reduced energy costs, tape-based storage solutions provide huge CapEx and Opex cost advantages. Even as technology advances, tape continues to be the ideal solution for long-term data storage and archiving.

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