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5 Issues with Tape Backup in the 21st Century

Learn about 5 common issues with using tape technology to backup NetApp Filers and Windows File Servers and practical solutions to your backup woes.

5 Issues-Tape Backup
5 Issues-Tape Backup

Last week, I wrote about the benefits of using thin provisioning to protect your primary storage and invited you to join me for our upcoming Thin Provisioning & Protecting Primary Storage webinar on June 28. This week, I’m focusing on why tape backup is no longer adequate for backing up the data you have stored on your NetApp® Filers and Windows® File Servers. As I see it, there are 5 common issues with using 20th century tape technology in the 21st century. Here they are, along with my take on a more practical solution to your backup woes:

Issue 1: Tape media failures can be catastrophic
Yes, tape media has become more reliable over the years. However, as tape media has evolved to become more reliable, the density of data stored on each tape has also increased. So, while a tape backup rarely fails, when it does, you lose much more backup data than ever before.

Solution: FileFly with Caringo Swarm stores your data on reliable and cost-effective scale-out storage. Once your data protection copies have been made, Swarm ensures that your valuable data is always online when you need it and will never be lost.

Issue 2: It takes a long time to restore data
Restoring from tape is slow and requires an available tape drive. Often, the required media first needs to be retrieved from fire-safe storage or offsite. If backups happen to be running, then a tape drive may need to be freed up. This could mean suspending, or worse, canceling the current running backups—or otherwise having to wait until all scheduled backups have completed. Either way, it’s not uncommon to wait for hours or even days for requested data to be restored.

Solution: With FileFly, your protection, data is always online and ready for instant retrieval, there is no need to wait.

Issue 3: You need an offsite backup of your backup
Disasters at varying magnitudes occur every day, and in case of disaster, you need to be confident that your data will be safe, sound and readily available. This requires an offsite backup of your data, and let’s face it: dealing with the physical demands of tape backup is time-consuming and inefficient.

Solution: FileFly allows your data to be automatically replicated at the Swarm storage layer to another office, data center location or to a Caringo Cloud partner. To reduce costs, you can also configure FileFly to only send its data to a Caringo Cloud partner, removing the need for file backup storage on site, reducing hardware, licensing, operational, support and maintenance costs. No longer is there a need for somebody to manually ship physical media off site or to pay expensive couriers and third-party media vaults.

Issue 4: Long backup windows eat your bandwidth
Saturated internal bandwidth and nail-bitingly slow filer performance while long backup windows are in progress cost far more than many people realize. Often, expensive additional network capacity is only installed to ensure an acceptable backup window. But, today, in a global market, can you really afford long backup windows?

Solution: FileFly reduces both backup windows and bandwidth requirements by only transferring data that has changed, instead of copying it daily, weekly or monthly.

Issue 5: Tape is not a secure backup solution
Protecting from data theft through tape media is often completely off the radar, yet it should be high on the list. Theft of (even indirectly) tape media is far more common than you might realize. It is far easier for somebody to slip a tape in their bag or pocket and leave unnoticed than for somebody to walk out with an online disk. Data encryption is of course possible, but tape encryption is not common. Even so, in most cases, the people who have access to the media are the same people who set and have access to the encryption keys. Another concern is how faulty or retired tape media is disposed of. Often it is just placed in the bin and/or sent off to the dump, and a lot of data to be recoverable from failed tape media (much easier than from a failed disk)

Quick FactSolution: With FileFly there is no offline removable media, eliminating the risk of data theft through stolen, misplaced or discarded media. Implementing replication and/or offsite backups using FileFly for Swarm removes the possibility of tape media falling into the wrong hands.

As you know, Swarm provides a storage platform for data protection, management, organization and search at massive scale…so you no longer have to use disparate solutions for long-term preservation, delivery and analysis. Now, FileFly has made Swarm scale-out storage highly accessible, so we can add proven backup for NetApp and Windows to Swarm’s extensive credentials. Swarm’s seamless integration with FileFly’s smart thin provisioning through policy-based tiering of your NetApp files and Window application or file servers works smartly together to reduce backup windows, bandwidth requirements and primary storage requirements.

Want to learn more? Contact us or register for our upcoming Thin Provisioning & Protecting Primary Storage webinar.

Register for the Webinar

Next week, I’ll give you more insight into how you can protect data on your NetApp Filers and Windows File Servers.

Glen Olsen
Glen Olsen

About The Author

With over 2 decades of experience, Caringo Product Manager Glen Olsen has a keen focus on architecting data and storage solutions. At Caringo, Glen leads efforts to bridge the gap between traditional storage and our leading-edge scale-out storage solution.

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