Hidden Costs of Tape Backups

Tape backups were once seen as the pinnacle of backup solutions. Today's technology has made a lot of improvements to what tape backups were accomplishing.

Here are 4 ways tape backups are showing their age:

Tape backups take forever!

A normal small-business database server may have 200 GB of data. With a tape with enough room for that backup, the backup would take 5.5 hours to backup!

Backups have to be flawless and done at once.

The way modern tape drives work is all the data is written in a long line of tape, which is spooled up inside the drive. When writing to the tape, if a mistake is made and the backup program has an error, the entire backup has to be redone. Not to mention that someone has to be around to restart or correct the backup (and work after-hours). 

Restores from tape are cumbersome.

Doing a restore from tape can be a hassle if the entirety of what is on the tape drive is not needed. If the restore is just for a handful of files located somewhere on that tape, the entire tape has to be read through to find those files.

Tape backups require a lot of hands on time.

As the previous 3 points have indicated, doing a tape backup is technician-heavy. Someone has to insert the tape, start the backup, monitor the backup (and restart it if there's a problem), remove the tape, put the tape in storage, and periodically test the tapes by completing a full restore (you are verifying all this is actually working, right?). That's a LOT of hands on time.

So tape backups have issues. Is there anything better? Popular alternatives are disk, cloud, or both.

  1. With disk, cloud or a hydro solution, backups happen fast.

  2. Backups can happen during business hours and don't have to start at the beginning and end at the end, they can backup pieces in the middle or any part of the data as it is changed, meaning your data is archived after every change. No more worrying about a midday failure or overwrite losing the entire morning's worth of updates.

  3. With newer backup solutions, you no longer have to maintain the aging tape drives and machines.

  4. Restores from these backups can be completed much more quickly, especially for a handful of files (instead of an entire drive), since a particular file can be restored instead of having to read through the entire tape to get to the file needed. And for larger restores, multiple files can be restored at one time instead of one at a time, saving time over restores from tape.

Today there are much better backup solution options which can be less expensive, faster, and more reliable than the aging tape backup method.

Contact us if you have questions or need assistance with backup solution options that will better fit the needs of your business.