Other tape considerations

I've posted and talked quite a bit about tape lately.  I asked if we've put it out to pasture too soon. After participating in a Linked In thread from hell, I said that tape was a more reliable medium for long term storage.  I talked about that last post on Infosmack 102, which should be on The Register any day now.  I've also spoken about tape at my Backup Central Live! shows.  (Quick plug: We have announced the dates for Toronto, NYC, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington DC.  Click your favorite city to register!)

First let's talk about backup and recovery

Anyone who has heard me speak knows that I do not recommend using tape as the primary target for backups.  The main problem with tape and backups is that most backups are incremental backups and provide <1MB/s of performance, and modern tape drives want at least 40-50 MB/s after compression and really want much more than that.  This speed mismatch is impossible to overcome without bringing disk into the picture. I think that disk (especially deduped disk)  offers so many advantages for backup and recovery that it just makes sense to use it as your primary target for backup and recovery.  Even if you plan to build your backup system primarily out of tape (usually due to cost), you need to solve the speed mismatch problem using disk staging.  Stage to disk, then destage to tape.  You don't get the recovery benefits that disk provides, but at least you solve the shoe-shining problem.  (BTW, I read on

It also makes a lot of sense to replicate deduped backups to another device offsite, although I still believe tape is a cheaper way to accomplish the offsite requirement.  It also comes with the "air gap" feature


What I do think

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.