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Still Backing Up to Tape?
If your organization is currently backing up your data to tape, you may want to rethink your strategy!

At one time in the past, tape backups were the only reasonable way, performance wise and financially, to perform this basic function. However, the time of tape has passed. There are so many weaknesses associated with tape backup that it is silly to hang onto this old technology.

Tapes are physically delicate and easily compromised by environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and magnetic interference. This innate sensitivity of the media contributes to very high failure rates.

Some other reasons why tape backups should be replaced with other technologies are:.

1. Tape backups take too long. When most companies had at most 1 or 2 GB of data, tape backups took an hour or so, verification took another hour or so.  Now, with many companies having 50-75-100 GB to backup, tape jobs donít complete within the time available, or fail to complete at all. Troubleshooting from error logs is a lengthy and time consuming process.

2. When backups do complete, concern about the restorability of data from tape should be very high. You can verify that the tape has been written, but not that the data can be restored when you need it.

According to a report by The Gartner Group (, an unbiased, brand independent technology group that gathers data on things such as this, 71% of all tape restores fail.

Strategic Research (, another such group, claims a 54% failure rate exists.

Finally, according to Ben Matheson, group product manager for Microsoft's "Data Protection Manager" Division, "42% of attempted recoveries from tape backups in the past year have failed".

Different studies have yielded different results, but none of the statistics sound promising.  Obviously, tape isn't the best choice for Disaster Recovery.

3. Since tape is a sequential technology, restoring even a single file from a tape backup requires a lot of time and effort.

4. Restoring an entire file system from tape after a hard drive failure can a daunting task requiring not only a lot of time, but greater than normal expertise.

5. Restoring a full system from tape after a physical disaster, such as may be experienced in a fire, flood, or other natural disaster can be nearly impossible.  First, you have to find, purchase, and install a tape drive identical to the one that made the tape. This can often be more of a problem then one would think; especially if the unit is older.  Then you have to reinstall the same operating system.  Next, you have to install the same version of the same backup program as the one that created the tape.  Then you can try to restore the hard drive data, which will take at least as long as it took to create it. Even then, as we saw from number two above, all of your efforts may still have been in vain. 

Networking Delaware can install and configure a disk to disk backup system, using redundant mirrored disks, for about the same cost as a tape backup system. These disk to disk systems are much more reliable then tape.   We can also provide off-site nightly backups via the Internet to remote, diversely located sites where your data will remain safe and secure.

In addition, in about 15 minutes these units can be converted to become a virtual server to replace your regular server in the event of a complete server failure.

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