Evaluating Your Storage Options: Tape or Cloud

By: In: Cloud Backup & Recovery On: Nov 09, 2016
Evaluating Your Storage Options: Tape or Cloud

Over the past few years or so, data protection has trended towards the Cloud. But that doesn’t mean tape is dead—far from it. Today’s forward-thinking organisations needs to evaluate the risks, long-term costs and the respective strength and weaknesses of both tape and Cloud to decide which option better addresses their unique business needs.

Let’s look at each in greater depth.

A Closer Look at Tape  

Tape has been a tried-and-tested storage medium for years. However, because it has been around so long, some stakeholders are questioning whether or not it has run its course.  Surely, they think, there must be some technology that offers faster access and recovery time and more efficient management.

And while there are more “modern” approaches to storage available, it doesn’t mean that tape is any less effective.  Tape remains in use by 90% of Fortune 500 companies, and 59% of organisations use it as their primary form of backup.  In fact, usage actually increased by nearly 18% between 2014 and 2015, and chances are those numbers will continue to climb as data volumes grow—according Cisco, annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte ([ZB]; 1000 exabytes [EB]) threshold by the end of 2016, and will reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020.

And it’s not as if tape isn’t continuing to evolve alongside growing storage demands either.  The latest iteration, LTO-7, allows organisations to store up to 15 terabytes (TB) of compressed capacity, which is more than double that of the prior LTO-6 generation.

Additional benefits include:

  • Massive storage space. Tape stores up to 15 terabytes of data.  Any organisation with significant amounts of data ready for storage will find using tape is a far more affordable option than streaming into the Cloud.
  • Easy recovery. Tape’s high capacity and portability make it easy to transport terabytes of data. In fact, thanks to linear tape file systems (LTFS), tapes are accessed like disk, while providing a lower cost mechanism to store multiple copies of accessible archived data.
  • Economical and reliable storage. Unlike other physical storage mediums, such as disk, tape is cheaper (average cost of $.01/BG), does not use power in storage and provides more reliable backup, recovery and archiving solutions.

Examining the Cloud

Cloud-based backup has faced its share of detractors, most of whom focus on security concerns and the expense of extracting data from the Cloud once put in. However, end-to-end encryption and the ability to automatically—and continuously—protect data as it’s created make a safe Cloud a safe solution for many organisations.

Some key benefits of Cloud include:

  • Scalability. Cloud enables your organisation to react faster to growing storage requirements without needing to make expensive changes to existing IT infrastructure.
  • Low management requirements. Using a cloud-based solution increases automation and enables you to perform continuous backups without requiring the physical handling of backup media, which is particularly attractive to small- and mid-sized IT departments with few staff.

So, Which is It?

In the end, which solution you use—whether it be tape, cloud or a combination thereof—depends entirely on the specific needs of your organisation.  For more information and for help on evaluating your storage choices, download the eBook Tape and Cloud: More Than A Marriage of Convenience



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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.