Organizations leveraging backup tape storage should consider going “lights out” in 2016

By Michael
December 30, 2015

While backup tape storage solutions are not always a top news items among popular tech periodicals, the reality is that many businesses depend¬†on tape’s reliability, cost-effectiveness and straightforward operations. Now that facilities have begun work on their 2016 budget, however, it should be noted that opportunities are available to make backup storage even more cost-effective and reliable. What’s the ticket? A “lights out” storage configuration conceptualizes the data center or tape archive as an island independent of a company’s main commercial facility. Even if the storage area is located on the premises, limited access by personnel, minimized lighting and a contained climate can help organizations pay significantly less to maintain storage operations.

That’s why organizations managing a backup tape archive should seriously consider adopting a “lights out” approach in 2016. In addition to generous cost-savings, updating backup tape management policies to push the company in this direction can help enhance the business’ public profile as an organization with a focus on sustainable solutions. Read on to learn more about what a “lights out” approach can offer.

Restricted access translates to superior security
The sad truth is that the more people are provided access to backup storage spaces, the more likely a catastrophic error or theft will occur. That’s one of the major reasons companies consider going “lights out,” according to Techopedia. By identifying short windows for access and automating the “lights out” storage process with dedicated software like ClearPath Solutions, facilities eliminated much of the need for an entire team to operate and manage tape backup. A few highly-trusted experts can be relied on to handle remaining operations, eliminating labor costs and enhancing accountability among employees left to manage the company’s tape archive. Additionally, limiting human interaction with the data center makes it easier to objectively assess system performance.

Assemble support and resources prior to the transition
Backup tape storage managers must not forget that attempts to streamline and modernize the archive will ultimately fail without the backing of employees and company policy. Keeping employees out of the tape archive except for authorized access periods, for example, is considerably more difficult without the authority and funds to enforce this new policy. That is just one of many examples of how insufficient support could undermine attempts to convert a tape archive into a “lights out” operation this year.

Practices differ based on server organization and square footage
Data Center Knowledge pointed out that going “lights out” does not necessarily mean running the backup storage archive using as few lights as possible. Replacing inefficient lighting configurations with more practical, cost-effective set-ups can help companies reap all the rewards of the “lights out” approach. For example, utilizing web-enabled LEDs will not only lessen the financial burden on organizations managing tape archives, but also simplify light operation from outside the archive environment, making it easier than ever to limit access in and out of the data center to as few instances per day as possible. This makes lighting an ideal investment for organizations determining their spending strategy for 2016.

Reduced lighting costs afford locational flexibility
Savvy organizations can also use a “lights out” upgrade to offset foreseeable expenses in 2016, like a considerable jump in real estate costs. For instance, companies that can benefit from moving their operations closer to densely populated tech center can justify a more expensive lease by eliminating utility costs with a “lights out” configuration. Combining a “lights out” approach with other energy-saving strategies or automated software solutions can help make companies even more flexible when it comes to location.

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