Getting It Back Fast: How Do Tape, Disk, and Cloud Data Recovery Compare?

Topics: Cloud Backup | Data Archive

Have questions about whether using tape storage, disk storage or cloud storage is best for your business? Your best bet is a hybrid strategy.

Designing a successful business continuity plan requires sorting through the various data backup and recovery technologies and techniques to find your best fit. Tape, disk, and cloud-based solutions each have advantages—and the good news is you don't have to lock in just one for server backup. Instead, match your needs to the technologies that restore data reliably and affordably.

Here's the lowdown on backup options:

Tape: The Technology Sleeper

Offsite tape storage is enjoying technology breakthroughs that continue to make it more cost-effective with each passing year. It's a great way to save large amounts of data but isn't usually the fastest way to get it back. (This is an important fact to keep in mind as you decide what to store on it.)

Here's the real kicker about tape: The advent of the LTFS tape format is set to take tape storage far into the future with full backward compatibility. As one IDC study states, it's "a game-changing technology." LTFS also offers a file-and-folder-type structure for faster access.

Disk: Speed Comes at a Price

Disk's big advantage is speed: Since retrieving data from in-house disks is typically faster than from offsite tape, disks serve an important purpose as a backup for the crucial data you can never be without. But IT managers shouldn't rely on disks as the easy way out. Onsite disk-based backup is the most expensive way to back up data, from two to ten times more expensive than tape, according to a TechTarget study. Adding to the cost are the significant amount of in-house hardware required—and the team to manage it all.

Of course, for true business continuity, offsite backup is essential—and tape storage serves that purpose and saves money.

The Cloud: Lofty Promises, Realistic What-ifs

Cloud-based backup sends and stores data offsite securely via the Internet to a third-party storage facility. Priced like a utility, a cloud service has you pay for only as much as you use, a potentially big cost saver.

Experts advise that you should set up a service level agreement (SLA) to guard against any surprises. The SLA includes recovery speed and performance guarantees. The main considerations: 1) Can your bandwidth sustain the backup traffic and 2) Is your partner's security airtight?

A third-party data management partner can:

  • Help assess the amount of data you're updating regularly
  • Evaluate the quality of your bandwidth, the current state of your infrastructure, your plans to upgrade, and the resources you have available to manage your data protection program.
  • Collaborate to help you formulate a hybrid strategy involving tape, disk and cloud backups to simplify data recovery

Do you have questions about data management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Data Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.


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