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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Do Large Corporations Need Tape?

I am dealing with a situation where I have to gone from a tapeless TSM environment to the standard TSM tape model and I have to wonder why you would use tape when you have multiple data centers? If you have multiple data centers why not backup to disk and replicate the data on disk to a disk solution at the alternate DC? I did this with Data Domains and it made life so much easier. Multiple DR tests showed it was efficient and successful, of course this also utilized deduplication so disk usage and costs didn't get out of hand.  So I ask why is any large corporation still using tape?


  1. As far as I am concerned, I can see two tape usage options:
    1) tape is always an choice for a long term archiving solution,
    2) tape gives physical feeling of having a backup. Ok, just kidding (partly). Tape gives option to revive server directly from tape. And sometimes bringing tape backup to secondary location is much faster then putting it "on wire", when the wire is broken.

    For me, tape is a security blanket. Compared to storage prices, having such blanket giving another layer of security proves not be too expensive.

  2. While I agree it's definitely a longtime archive solution, I use EMC Centera for archiving and its a great disk based solution. My main issue is with backup and tape. Backup data has huge turnover and when it comes to the data that does not change frequently it's usually a great candidate for deduplication (i.e. OS and App files).

  3. Hey Chad. I am still at the same job, ahem. And we are still using tape for the most part, as we can get the libraries for free from the "reuse/recycle" whatever bins we have here. You know the ones. They are old school easy. Customers still like it. They bitch when SAN goes bad, ask why we didn't have a good tape sol'n. O_o Anyway - regarding that replication option, about to dive into that one. But I do have some questions on it - maybe you can answer? Are you doing it site to site now? How are you liking that option? Seems like a better way, right? Any caveats?


  4. IMHO, a hybrid VTL/ATL solutions works well only if the management gives you the funds to obtain the high end ATL's populated with the best and fastest tape drives

  5. My previous employer did site to site replication and it worked very well. Once you have the DR instructions in detail anyone should be able to recreate the environment at the remote site without issue.

  6. GreenIT?! The most energy saving solution for storing offsite data

  7. As always it comes down to bandwidth, money and maths. One of my clients right now is desperate to reduce their reliance on tape but their volumes of data plus the economics and physics of network links from their remote sites means that it just doesn't stack up for them at the moment.

  8. Advantages of tape over disk were Cost, Poratbility and reliability. The only thing disk overcame is cost ... remaining two are still there

  9. Disk is more cost effective than tape now, especially with deduplication.
    Reliability comes with RAID protected disk (you don't have that when tape media are damaged).
    Portability depends... If your objective is to "port" the data off-site, there is more automation with replicating the data between sites. And if you must move data back on-site after disaster, TSM's node replication allows you to prioritize which data needs to be replicated back.
    Less human intervention, less moving pieces (tape drives & robots) and also less opportunity for damaged media.