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Swap tape for removable disks

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Removable disk cartridges are faster than tapes and easier to manage--but don't dump that tape library just yet.


New removable disk drives represent the next step in data protection: the best features of disk and tape. Combining the speed and reliability of disk with tape's portability, removable disk drives foreshadow an impending change in the way companies will back up and restore data in the not-too-distant future.

Some of the benefits removable disk drives offer vs. tape include the following:

  • Drives appear to back up software as a disk, file system or virtual tape image
  • Disk packs come with different RAID options
  • Faster backup and restore times
  • Disk drives maintain persistent drive letters in operating systems
Most small- to medium-sized business (SMB) backup software products support removable disk drives. But widespread adoption of portable drives may be inhibited until some problems are solved. For example, removable disk drives cost more per gigabyte than tape cartridges, and they aren't compatible with some major backup software products and automated tape libraries.

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This was first published in March 2007

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