Recently, Steven posted a great article on the continuing debate about disk versus tape. Though image-based backup has become popular in recent years, many businesses still use tape. You can see this by doing a quick internet search. You’ll find that, contrary to popular wisdom, the debate between tape and disk is still a reality.
As Steven pointed out, proponents of tape still tout its lower cost, greater storage space, and supremacy in archiving. Compelling arguments for all of these things can (and have) been made for disk-based backups as well, but in many ways, these arguments completely miss the point (no offense, Steven).
Tape worked well when data recovery was a luxury not a priority and when downtime barely even existed (some would say that archiving today still falls under those criteria; I would refer them to Steven’s article). But today, data loss and downtime kill businesses.
According to one of our partners who had barely finished transitioning his clients over to disk from tape before Hurricane Sandy hit, rebuilding a server from tape could take as much as a week.
“After Sandy hit, if you’d brought us a tape, our first reaction would be to throw it back at you,” says Rashaad Bajwa of Domain Computer Services. “We didn’t have time to build all new servers and restore them via tape. We didn’t have a hundred extra man hours in the middle of a crisis.”
So when looking for your backup technology (especially tape versus disk, but really with any solution), think about the recovery as well. Putting all other considerations aside, ask yourself, can you afford to be down for a week?