Debunking Three Myths about Using Tape for Data Back Up

With the popularity of disk back up storage on the rise, some mistruths have been circulating about using traditional tapes for back up. Read below for some facts to help you separate fact from fiction.

Myth: Back-up tapes are not as reliable as other options. The truth is that tapes actually hold up to DR scenarios better. For example, if there was a power outage, tapes would have little risk to being damaged as compared to other data backup options. Another example is if the data tape is dropped and damaged, you can trade out the tape for a new tape cartridge and the data is preserved and you can read it immediately. With the disk option, if the disk drive is having problems, you will need to have a data recovery expert come in and fix it and that can be costly. Moreover, tapes are easier to adapt to new IT systems and can change accordingly, which is not always the case with disk-based systems.

Myth: Disks are nearly as affordable as tapes. The truth is disks have been around a long time and have lots of competition in the market, which continues to keep their costs down year after year. Tapes can also simplify the process of maintaining future versions of IT systems. Some people assume that because disk systems have deduplication capabilities using disks can nearly match the cost of using tapes. However, with disk-based storage, when data hits its capacity an additional backup up system needs to be purchased. There is only so much data a disk-based system can hold. This increases the overall back up costs and cannot match the affordability of using tapes.

Myth: Tapes don’t hold a lot of data. Some people assume that the newer disk-based systems can hold more information leaving the tape’s data capacity in the dust. But the truth is that cartridge capacity continues to increase through the years and in 2011, the highest capacity tape cartridges (T10000C) can store up to 5 terabytes—the highest storage capacity of any storage device. Tapes continue to be seen as the best choice for remote and offline storage for archives, data protection and data kept for regulation requirements. In addition to higher data capacity, tapes are lasting longer than ever—new tapes can now store media up to three decades. New improvements and technology advancements made by tape vendors now and in the future means there is an unprecedented growth in cartridge tape capacity and they anticipate that by 2019, tape capacity will exceed 60 terabytes.