Risk
4/21/2011
02:35 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

Forget Tape Vs. Disk, Use Them Together

Tape is ideal for third tier backup data and the cost per GB, performance, and reliability make it an ideal compliment to disk backup.

"Tape is Dead" may be a common statement, but it just does not hold true to the reality. Most tape and tape library companies are reporting strong sales growth over the past couple years. User studies indicate that well under 20% of data centers have become disk backup only. In most environments this should no longer be a tape vs. disk conversation, both technologies should continue to be leveraged together.

Most data centers now consider backup disk as the first source of recovery when something has failed. In reality backup disk should be your second point of recovery not your first. As Storage Switzerland discussed in a recent article "Protecting Applications From Storage System Failures" most data centers should not be counting on the backup process at all for mission critical recoveries.

There should be some other form of recovery technology in place that provides direct access to data and a smaller window of time between data protection captures. Disk backup should be the second step in a recovery process when something goes wrong with a high availability (HA) solution or an older point in time of the data set is needed. The disk backup can also be used for primary recovery of less critical systems but we think the number of applications and services that can sustain multi-hour recovery times is decreasing.

Tape should be looked at as the third tier of recovery, when a much older point in time of data is needed or when something goes wrong with the previous two recovery steps. Despite this, there is also a situation where tape should be considered as the primary backup and recovery point. Consider tape first when a very large data set needs to, and can be, transferred across a very high-speed connection.

Tape, if it can be sustained at full streaming performance is incredibly fast, faster than many disk based backup systems. An example of this might be a database environment with a large 200GB+ data set where tape can either be attached directly or via a fibre channel connection. A transfer directly from the database server to tape is often faster than to a backup class disk system. A case can be made that tape is all you need here since many database applications have some other form of availability in place for quick recovery. The purpose of the backup then is to create an archive of the database and to get that data off-site. Something that tape is well suited for.

Tape is ideal for this third tier of backup data thanks to the continued progress of the technology. The cost per GB, performance and now the reliability and shelf life of tape make it an ideal compliment to disk backup. It provides an alternate, offline storage method in case something goes wrong with disk media. In most environments, HA solutions should be the point of first restore, disk backup should be the point of second restore and tape backup should be the safety net. The challenge is that the integration between these three layers is lacking and is something we will discuss in our next entry.

Follow Storage Switzerland on Twitter

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9651
Published: 2015-08-28
Buffer overflow in CHICKEN 4.9.0.x before 4.9.0.2, 4.9.x before 4.9.1, and before 5.0 allows attackers to have unspecified impact via a positive START argument to the "substring-index[-ci] procedures."

CVE-2015-1171
Published: 2015-08-28
Stack-based buffer overflow in GSM SIM Utility (aka SIM Card Editor) 6.6 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a long entry in a .sms file.

CVE-2015-2987
Published: 2015-08-28
Type74 ED before 4.0 misuses 128-bit ECB encryption for small files, which makes it easier for attackers to obtain plaintext data via differential cryptanalysis of a file with an original length smaller than 128 bits.

CVE-2015-6266
Published: 2015-08-28
The guest portal in Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 3300 1.2(0.899) does not restrict access to uploaded HTML documents, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information from customized documents via a direct request, aka Bug ID CSCuo78045.

CVE-2015-5367
Published: 2015-08-27
The HP lt4112 LTE/HSPA+ Gobi 4G module with firmware before 12.500.00.15.1803 on EliteBook, ElitePad, Elite, ProBook, Spectre, ZBook, and mt41 Thin Client devices allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.