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back to article What's wrong with tape backup?

Another week, another rummage through Reg Whitepapers. This time we delve into enterprise storage for your delectation. Let's kick-off with an ideological onslaught against tape backup for multi-branch operations. The case against Tape backup and the evolution of branch office data This paper from Double Take Software examines …

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If I see anyone calling replication for backup, I'll...

Rip their head off, toss it in the toilet and flush...

Replication may be a good 'disaster recovery' function, but when a user calls and wants something restored to the state it was in last month, what then?

(In all my years as a BOFH I've never had to do a disaster recovery, but user-requested restores happens almost daily. )

At my office we're required to keep backups for 10 years. Can anyone think of a suitable media for storing TBs of data, except tape?

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Anonymous Coward

this is nothing new, and it works

I came up with an idea to stripe and encrypt chosen backup areas a few years ago for a job.

The idea was that a backup server used diskspace from the existing pcs, in the building, which most of the time sat at 1% cpu. 2% disk load.

Since they were on anyway, backup files could be parsed, striped and encrypted (with different keys per host,) and the resultant encrypted portion of the stripe then dumped on each user machine, with a log of what was were, and how to get it kept on the backup server.

Since there were a hundred or more Pcs in the building, ten copies of each stripe could be stored, none of the user machines could be used to get the backup.

It was never implemented in the end, the project manager didn't do anything unless it was written in a book, but the idea's so simple, I'm surprised Microsoft haven't written their own service to do this.

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Silver badge

mainframes, all over again

So we have three advertisements, sorry: learned papers, pushing their own brands of products, services or content. Presumably these are aimed at people and organisations who aren't doing any serious backups - or who want someone else to provide justifications for them to hop on the buzzword-de-jour charabang as it leaves on a journey to who knows where.

The funny thing about tape backup (and mainframes, for that matter) is that it just won't go away. It metamorphosises every few years as technologies or processes improve but it retains the same basic form and disciplines. Now, everyone knows it's not the be-all and end-all of backups, and that it is only one component in a multi-tiered data preservation service. However, the emotions it stirs: whether due to it's "un-coolness" or cost, or the difficulty in getting it right, means that people keep talking about it.

Generally each generation, who thinks they know better, tries to rid the world of tapes - and replace them with whatever their callow teachers told them about. However it seems that the hidden benefits of tapes (if they weren't hidden, they'd be apparent and we wouldn't be having this discussion) keep coming back to haunt the organisations that scorned them - provided they survive the disadvantages of a non-tape based backup regime.

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And home backups

Tapes, you just can't back up peta bytes of data to tape, for 10 years, tapes don't last that long, unless you keep reversing them and giving them TLC.

Even the small office I'm in , has 100 plus pc's each with 500 G plus of drives, how do you keep that backed up ?

The thing that worries me , is home backups. The kids both have machines with T byte drives, how do I keep that backed up, apart from using more hard drives ?

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@Andrew Mulcock

1) Enterprise quality tapes (DLT/Magstar/sDLT/LTO etc) last about 20-25 years on a shelf, you may need to exercise them once or twice in that time. This isn't really an issue because in reality you will be recalling your tapes every 10 years-or-so in order to move the data onto new media as you upgrade.

2) Workstation backup shouldn't be an issue, in any office you shouldn't be allowing users to write data to a local machine. ALL data should stay on a central server, which can then be backed up easily. You should also have a standard build so that you don't need to preserve any machine specific settings.

3) At home, for that sort of volume of data, you should be looking at more hard disks. Personally (and I realise that as I'm a backup/storage person this is a little unusual) I backup my server/workstations to a drive in my server and replicate this on a weekly basis to a USB drive that lives at work.

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn - old news

Veritas has been doing continuous backups for years. Who cares about backups anyway? IT managers never get fired if their backups don't happen.

They get fired if their *recoveries* don't happen!

And there are two types of recoveries... The 'I deleted my file stupid user recovery' and 'the building is a smoking hole recovery'. Disk & tapes each have strengths and weaknesses for both recoveries. Thus, proper data protection needs both.

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Stop

No tapes just replication ....

Its a wonderful idea, till you have a database corruption and its replicated. Then its not so wonderful, the word is catastrophic.

This is aimed straight at pointy haired bosses the world over.

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