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Trends in Green Storage: Article

Making Cents of Tape Versus Disk

The Complete Guide on What to Choose and Why

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the tape verses disk argument…is that there is still an argument. Most storage mediums transition from old to new without even so much as a fuss as the benefit of new media is clearly understood. However, it seems that tape verses disk continues to be the anomaly. Whereas, many IT professionals see a clear and distinct winner, others do not.

On one hand, there is the high speed, highly reliable, random access, online benefit of disk. On the other hand, there is the low speed, low reliability, linear access, offline nature of tape. One is new, fast and flashy. The other is old, slow and cumbersome. The winner is clear, right?

Although the choice may seem clear when looking at the benefit comparison, IT professionals who choose tape for their backup environment will end up citing a couple things like, “tape is still fast enough to meet their window,” or, “their organization can handle extended periods of downtime while waiting on a restore.” However, the most commonly used answer for a tape deployment over disk is that the sheer expense of tape is simply, “cheaper.” With the performance, management and reliability benefit clearly belonging to disk, the outstanding issue seems to be a “perceived” cost issue.

When making a direct cost comparison of media, it is true that the cost-per-byte is cheaper for tape than it is for disk. For some IT professionals, that’s where they draw the line and make a decision. For them, the cost of media is the race, and tape is the winner. The problem, however, has to do with the fact that the race really isn’t about the cost of media; it’s the associated cost of several other factors: downtime, reliability, management, availability, data growth and the cost of the backup system itself. In other words, it’s about the big picture.

It should be noted that some IT professionals have circumvented the whole tape vs. disk decision dilemma and have implemented tiered solutions that use both in concert, otherwise known as Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T). With this approach, IT professionals are writing directly to a disk array for their backup then passing it on to tape for deep archiving and off-site portability. With this approach, organizations are leveraging the many benefits of online disk storage while maintaining the portability and long term retention aspects they are used to receiving with tape.

Download this no-charge 10-minute white paper in its entirety at: http://www.nexsan.com/whitepapers/Nexsan_10min_WhitePaper_Tape_vs_Disk_G...

When making the moved toward disk over tape, the DCIG Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide provides the detailed independent analysis important for these decisions. Download the DCIG Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide at no charge and view the results of this comprehensive report at http://www.dciginc.com/2010/06/free-download-dcig-midrange-array-buyers-...

More Stories By Joe Austin

Joe Austin is Vice President, Client Relations, at Ventana Public Relations. He joined Ventana PR in 2006 with more than 14 years experience in high-tech strategic communications. His media relations experience spans both broadcast and print, and he maintains longstanding relationships with editors and reporters at business, IT, channel, and vertical publications. Austin's relationship with the media includes marquee outlets including CNN, BusinessWeek, USA Today, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press for clients ranging from startups to billion-dollar enterprises. Experience includes working with Maxell, McDATA (Acquired by Brocade), Center for Internet Security, Securent (Acquired by Cisco), Intrepidus Group/PhishMe, FireEye, Mimosa Systems, Xiotech, MOLI.com, EMC/Rainfinity, Spinnaker Networks (Acquired by NetApp), ONStor, Nexsan, Asigra, Avamar (Acquired by EMC), BakBone Software, Dot Hill, SANRAD, Open-E and others. With more than a decade of strategic planning, media tours, press conferences, and media/analyst relations for companies in the data storage, security, server virtualization, IT outsourcing and networking arenas, Austin's domain expertise assists in positioning clients for leadership. Austin was recently recognized as a “Top Tech Communicator” for the second year in a row by PRSourceCode. The editorial community – represented by more than 300 participating IT journalists – rated each winner based on best overall performance and recognized those who added the most value to their editorial processes in terms of responsiveness, reliability, and overall understanding of editorial needs.