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Tape capacities continue to spiral upward to the 1TB mark as speeds increase, but there's more to consider than just size and speed.
Although disk is rapidly becoming the preferred initial target and source for backups and restores, tape is still a key part of the process, especially for offsite disaster recovery and data archives. In responding to tape's changing role, vendors are enhancing their products to allow users to access tape-based data more quickly and securely.
Faster speeds and higher capacities are only part of the tape story: mile posts, cartridge memory, WORM formats and radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are among the options users need to bear in mind when evaluating the latest tape formats to determine what benefits they'll actually realize. Users deciding whether to hold onto what they have, upgrade or change tape formats should consider these key questions:
- Will the tape's larger capacities or faster transfer rates actually be used?
- Does data need to be encrypted and shipped offsite, and how long will it be stored?
- How much time will it take to move backup data from disk to tape and recover from tape to disk?
- Does data need to be stored in an unalterable format?
- What advantages do RFID tags and memory chips provide?
This was first published in May 2006