How to Stop Managing Legacy Backup Tapes

By: In: Backup Tape On: Mar 09, 2016
How to Stop Managing Legacy Backup Tapes

The story is a common one. A company starts with a tape backup infrastructure because it’s inexpensive or otherwise meets business requirements.  Over time, the organisation evolves and eventually outgrows this infrastructure, forcing it to evaluate alternatives.  The company assesses many options and eventually decides to migrate to a new infrastructure, including new backup hardware and software.  The technology update brings more functionality—but with increased cost and complexity.  The transition leaves the company in a difficult position – implementing and running the new environment and managing the legacy tape environment, which continues to be needed to access to older information.  Now imagine this process repeating itself multiple times.

For many companies, the above scenario is an all-too-common reality.  Through a combination of technology change or even mergers and acquisitions, many companies are saddled with multiple generations, versions and vendors of backup hardware and software.  The challenge is daunting because, over time, the knowledge associated with the legacy infrastructure becomes stale and hardware reliability declines.  To make matters worse, if a recovery failure occurs, the manufacturers of the legacy systems and software may be unwilling to support the customer in a cost-effective manner.  The result is an increase risk and cost, and most practitioners simply hope that the legacy data is never needed.

There are also hidden expenses that further add to the burden.  For example, in a recent survey of over 230 end users, Iron Mountain found that 50% of the respondents left their legacy hardware powered on and racked in case recoveries were required.  Think of the power, cooling and footprint consumed by these older systems.  Companies bear these costs because they don’t want to be caught unprepared for an unexpected restoration or discovery event and yet how frequently are these requests received?  For many, customers the answer is “rarely;” however, customers often ask if we can help them find a better way to address these challenges.  Fortunately, the Iron Mountain Restoration Assurance Programme can help.

The primary reason companies maintain legacy infrastructure is to access older backup information, making the real challenge is data accessibility.  For most IT practitioners, the ideal world would be one where all legacy information was available rapidly and cost effectively whenever and wherever it is requested without the need to maintain legacy infrastructures.  The Iron Mountain Restoration Assurance Program addresses this challenge by providing a web-based portal where customers can access a searchable index of their legacy backup information including the ability to search on backup job and server names.  Once the user has identified the data they need, Iron Mountain can use its unique recovery environment to restore the requested information and provide it back to the customer via a simple download or by sending storage hardware to the customer site.  The result is cost-effective and rapid access to legacy information without the need to maintain complex and outdated infrastructure.

For many customers, the challenge of accessing information stored on old equipment is a challenge of significant proportions. Worst of all, these users may not experience issues until they are under pressure to complete an urgent recovery because of an e-discovery or litigation request.  The worst time to find out you have an issue is when you are in a stressful, time sensitive situation.  At Iron Mountain, we store millions of tapes and understand the challenges of maintaining and accessing information over time.  Our Restoration Assurance Programme provides on-demand access to older information and is a game changer for many of our customers. For more information, contact us today.

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About the author

John Woolley

Head of Technical Sales at Iron Mountain John is a sales and marketing leader with over 20 years of experience within the IT industry. For the last 10 years, John has been an evangelist for data centre virtualization and data management, working to bring innovative solutions to solve real data issues. As Head of Technical Sales for Iron Mountain, John defines and drives Iron Mountain’s Cloud Data Management solutions. He also recommends and defines the strategy for Data Management products and services based on customer interactions. Prior to Iron Mountain, John held several roles as a Sales Manager and, most recently, as a Data Protection Specialist.