Backup Storage Tape in 2016: Reliability For the New Year

By Michael
January 14, 2016

Despite its lack of cutting-edge appeal, the usefulness of backup tape storage solutions has only grown over the past decade. Attempts by new technologies to replace this legacy storage option. Though few industry experts will be touting the death of storage in 2016, there’s a good chance the opportunities afforded by leveraging tape will go under-reported this year.

The biggest advantage that holds in store for users is an industry-leading error rate. Storage tape is simply less vulnerable than disk to a long list of potential threats. As a result, savvy IT specialists continue to lean on tape despite advances like cloud storage and blade server virtualization.

Many industries will prioritize reliability above all else when selecting storage solutions this year. Companies following this model in 2016 should empower IT decision-makers selecting storage improvement to review the enduring benefits of tape storage before making a final choice.

The demand for data archives isn’t going anywhere
Long-term reliability isn’t the only advantage that backup tape offers over storage in the new year. Considerable cost savings, reliable long-term performance and compatibility with virtually any archiving platform make up a short list of reasons that tape archives remains pertinent to modern network operators and should stay relevant for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, numerous agencies have already made major investments in expansive tape storage archives. These factors will ensure that tape strategies deployed in 2016 will be supported by the industry through the end of the decade.

Tape makers continue to improve memory and performance
The promise of “unlimited” storage helped push the cloud into the mainstream, but these days, most members of the tech industry understand the substantial costs associated with keeping thousand and thousands of racks online around the clock. That’s part of the reason that tape storage has stayed so competitive despite the arrival of a modern successor. While storage capacity of backup tape has rapidly increased over the past few years, a move to keep pace with the rise of cloud storage, the costs of backup tape have not changed significantly.

Gizmag pointed out that IBM debuted 200 TB storage tapes just last year. Likewise, Sony threw its hat into the advanced backup tape ring by releasing a 180 TB tapes in 2015. Expect even bigger, faster tapes to become available by the end of the year.

Companies need a backup plan for dirt cheap cloud storage
Cost-effective cloud storage is now the status quo, but the inherent liability associated with running network operations from an off-site server means that companies will likely prefer a mixed storage strategy over limiting their investments to a single technology. Natural disasters, grid failures and human attacks could send an entire data center offline in seconds, according to Information Age. In this regard, relying on the cloud to store high-priority client data is akin to tempting fate.

Scalable, portable storage makes tape competitive
Another persistent advantage of backup tape is the ability to easily transport offline storage assets from one location to another. Doing the same with a complex assembly of cables and servers presents a considerably more involved effort than scanning, packing and shipping backup tapes.

Companies leveraging tape management platforms like Vertices are even better equipped to efficient transport backup tape from one location to another. Automated tracking and documentation ensures that physical asset transfers go according to plan. Additionally, organizing and optimizing offline IT assets minimizes a company’s exposure to regulatory audits.

Tape is still ideal when data needs to get off the network for good
Backup storage tape also offers an advantage in terms of security. While private customer data hosted on the cloud is susceptible to hacks and unexpected downtime, access to information stored on a backup storage tape is completely under the control of the company. Any businesses managing data assets that must not be compromised under any circumstances should think twice about putting that information online in the first place. Offline backup tape storage ensures this information is never accessible to hackers attacking the company’s network.

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