Tape may be teetering, but it's still a big part of backup ops


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Tape no longer holds the place it once did in most firms' backup environments, but most storage shops still rely on it to some degree. Our Snapshot survey finds that while the vast majority of respondents use disk in backup, nearly 40% plan to buy tape gear this year.

You have to search far and wide these days to find a company that's not using disk to some degree in their backup operation. In our latest Snapshot survey, only 6% of respondents said they don't use disk at all for backup. On the flip side, 18% have completely eliminated tape from their backups. Among those companies that do use disk, the methods break down relatively evenly, with many companies using more than one disk-based technology. The most popular way to use disk was simply as a file system that acts as the backup target (53%). Just using disk as a staging area or temporary cache before spinning off to tape was a close second at 49%, while 37% said they use virtual tape libraries (VTLs) for backup. But tape's days are far from numbered despite an apparent overall decline. In fact, 39% of those surveyed said they'll buy tape gear this year, with 55% planning to purchase new libraries. And perhaps more telling evidence about tape's staying power is the 79% of disk-backup users who say that all or some of their backup data eventually finds its way onto tape.

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"We would like to implement a disk/VTL solution with dedupe; however, we cannot cost justify it over what we pay for maintenance and tapes." -- Survey respondent

BIO: Rich Castagna (rcastagna@storagemagazine.com) is editorial director of the Storage Media Group.

This was first published in April 2010

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