In theory, storage isn’t, or should no longer be a drain on IT budgets or resources as prices for storage have been reducing over the last decade. We all know theory can be different to reality as habits are difficult things to break, and there are often significant cost implications from bad habits.
One of these bad habits is the continued use of tape and disk storage, and many organisations still use this as it’s a reliable and time-tested solution. Tape in particular with its lower cost-per-gigabyte can still seem like a good solution, especially when you factor in that it doesn’t need hardware for storage.
From a compliance perspective, tape’s long shelf-life means that archiving is easy, and storage in the “IT cupboard” (a.k.a. a back room or redundant storage cupboard!) ticks the box. Furthermore, with tapes being stored offline, tucked away safely in the cupboard, they are of course out of reach of the threatening clutches of cybercriminals and ransomware attacks.
So why change? Well we’ll ask again – are you still using a Walkman or a CD player? Probably not. And in the unlikely event that you are, the world has changed so much around them they are becoming obsolete.
Disk and tape-based storage products, however efficiently run, are starting to show their age and become obsolete as well. Just like the erstwhile Walkman and portable CD players, every device has its day and there’s no shame in that – times simply move on.
And with pressure on IT budgets showing no sign of letting up and the old cliché of “doing more with less” still doing the rounds, there’s some smarter cloud-based solutions out there.
Although it’s not necessarily nice to hear negatives about a tried and trusted solution we’ve all worked with for years, the reality is that time is catching up with tape storage.
Firstly, storage and recovery can be a hassle. The tapes can quickly fill up the IT cupboard to the point of bursting, and as well as taking up physical storage space can create hassle when they need to be transported. And when the word ‘scalability’ is mentioned in the context of tape storage, it usually means simply buying more tapes and bigger tape libraries, and then figuring out where to store them.
On a practical level, there’s also things to consider with tape. When a restore is needed, it can quickly become a fire drill in order to locate the correct tape, let alone the content on it. Then there’s the portability aspect – unless (and in some cases even though) your policies for storing and handling the tapes are watertight, the risk of being unable to locate them is a very real one. And for how long will the required devices and software exist to actually read and access the data from tapes?
Today’s fast-moving market requires agility, quick access to data, efficient backups and convenient restore options – is it really possible to argue that tape provides this? Firstly, there’s no standardised hardware to read and write tapes. Secondly, the tapes themselves are not standardised, and need specific software and hardware to read them. Then there’s the need to rewind as opposed to the specific point access that cloud-based solutions offer.
Let’s mention retention…
Another observation about storage and backup market trends is that information no longer needs to be retained indefinitely. While this requirement varies by industry, data generally does not need to be kept forever, and certainly not all data.
The average life expectancy of data is now a couple of years in most industry sectors, at which point most of it becomes redundant and unnecessary to keep.
Don’t forget compliance
Because of the above factors, it goes without saying that recovery from tape can be an extremely slow process. While this can be irritating in some cases, the stringent procedures and timeframes of regulations such as the GDPR can make this time delay simply unacceptable – with tape backup, it may simple be impossible to meet the required recovery time objectives (RTOs), and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
Are tape and disk backup really cheaper?
In short, no.
The cost per gigabyte of storage, not to mention costs of maintenance and manpower to handle tapes means that they are fast becoming obsolete technologies only suitable for very specific business cases.
Because of this, tape and disk backups are simply not proving capable of keeping up with the times. So instead of why change, perhaps the question should be why not change?
What’s the solution?
PAV provides a solution that is powered by Commvault that is highly resilient, scalable and offers secure Cloud based Storage. It is simple, cost-effective and designed specifically for storing business data offsite.
This solution enables customers to retain important or critical data offsite as part of a disaster recovery or long-term archive strategy, and without the costs and hassle of traditional tape or disk-based solutions.
To find out more, join our one of our live webinars on Thursday 30th May or Thursday 13th June at 10-11am.