Computer Technology Review‘s most recent print issue (or the most recent one to reach me, anyway) has a story headlined “Tape is Here to Stay.” Why? According to the author, Rich Harada, president of the Tape Technology Council (and therefore perhaps just a little biased, as are the disk-based-backup manufacturers proclaiming tape’s demise), tape remains the least expensive way to add storage capacity—at least if you have a tape system in place already. Disk-based backup systems are “perfect complements to tape subsystems” and tape is “the most adaptive storage technology for over 50 years.”
Well, maybe, but that doesn’t absolve it of all the problems people have had with it. I don’t know any small-business users who prefer tapes to hard disks or optical disks as a backup medium. The gentleman protests too much, methinks.
If your company is committed to tape (and the cost of setting up an automated tape backup system for large quantities of data amounts to quite a commitment), you might want to follow some of the suggestions made in a couple of other recent articles.
From Baseline‘s June issue come Briana Hallstrom’s 7 Steps for keeping tabs on your backup tapes (slightly abbreviated by yours truly):
- Re-examine your process for disposing of backup tapes.
- Encrypt the data on your tapes.
- Don’t let junior staff members handle the backups.
- Store backup tapes in more than one location.
- Be alert when transporting tapes—this is when the data is most vulnerable.
- Look into other forms of storage.
- Audit your tapes and maintain records.
And on Monday Curtis Preston wrote an opinion piece for Computerworld called “A Simple Solution for Lost Tapes,” in which he recommends:
- Not using commercial courier services like FedEx to ship your tapes
- Encrypting your tapes so that whatever happens, nothing confidential will get into the wrong hands.
To read other FileSlinger™ Backup Blog posts about this subject, type “tape” into the search box at the top of the right column.