Choosing the Right Mix of Cloud, Disk and Tape for Backup & Recovery

By: In: Data Management On: Nov 10, 2015
Choosing the Right Mix of Cloud, Disk and Tape for Backup & Recovery

I couldn’t help but laugh while watching a video on the television show America’s Funniest Home Videos recently. In the clip, a mother used her smart phone to record her son, who was trying to figure out how to use a payphone. The young boy not only didn’t understand the concept of a payphone; he had no idea how to use a phone that was attached to a cord and wasn’t portable.

Since the Internet really took off in the 1990s, data has proliferated everywhere. It’s easy to see why data backup strategies and backup technologies, like our phones, have undergone rapid change.

Cloud, Disk and Tape for Recovery

One need that hasn’t changed over time is the need to recover your business-critical data as quickly as possible. Spinning disk and the cloud typically have faster Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) than backup tape. Both disk and cloud also have better Recovery Point Objective (RPO) tools in place to help you find recent information.

But is moving everything to the cloud or disk really cost-effective—especially when you think about all of the data you need to keep for several years as part of your company’s retention policy?

Cloud Benefits & Risks

In a recent blog, George Crump illustrates that while cloud storage is very attractive because of its low cost for entry, there are still hidden risks and costs to moving all your data to the cloud.

For example, if your company migrates 100TB of data to cloud when you make a technology change, that 100TB will sit there and cost you money virtually forever as you continue to push more and more data to the cloud, creating a very large and very expensive data set.

Don’t Forget About Tape

Tape shouldn’t be the only backup technology you use, but it should be continue to be a part of your strategy. Tape, an extremely reliable backup storage, is also cost efficient, meaning it should be a part of every smart archival strategy.

And don’t let the naysayers fool you; tape is still big business, though tape sales have declined. The Santa Clara Consulting Group, a research firm in California, notes that backup tape sales in late 2014 were estimated at $121.5M, a decline of 14 percent from the same time frame in 2013. But looking at that statistic alone isn’t enough. While fewer tapes were sold (about 200,000 units less), there were still 4.7 million new purchased. It’s also important to remember that today’s tapes hold more information for longer periods of time than those of years past.

If you look only at top level market numbers, you’d think it is all gloom and doom for backup tape. Spinning disk and the cloud are innovative while tape is antiquated – just like that old payphone. But there’s more to the story. You need to know what data you have and how long you have to keep it from a business perspective, but you also need to understand what the best type of storage to used based on what data is being protected.

Iron Mountain Restoration Assurance Program

Iron Mountain can help. In addition to protecting your tapes, our Restoration Assurance Program ensures you have a reliable and defensible restoration process in place should you ever need legacy data returned to you. Watch our video to see our Iron Mountain can help you with your ever-evolving backup strategy—and don’t forget to be thankful for your mobile phone today!

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About the author

Tara Holt

Tara is a solutions marketing manager responsible for creating and managing content for Iron Mountain’s Banking and the Financial Services solutions as well as Iron Mountain’s Customer Facing Technology applications. She has over 18 years of experience as a technical writer, business/systems analyst, project manager, and product manager and has worked for Iron Mountain since 2001. Tara holds a BA in English and Journalism from the University of Connecticut and will receive her MS in Professional and Organizational Communications from Regis College in 2016. In 2010, she received her Product Management Certification (PMC) from Pragmatic Marketing.