Should You Choose Hard Disk Drive Or Tape Data Storage for Business Back Ups?


Frequent, effective backups are an important part of a business continuity plan and necessary to avoid a data recovery emergency in your business. But should you opt for tape back-ups, hardback-ups, or even newer technology? 

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each for a small-to-mid-size Dallas business.

Pros of Tape Storage
Even as hard disk storage gets cheaper and larger, tape storage is not dead. Let’s look at some of the benefits.

Virus Protection
A reduced risk of virus corruption is one benefit. Viruses that may get onto a server will transfer to the hard disk drive, and then be spread through the entire system. A virus that accidentally gets backed up to disk will stay on that disk and corrupt only that file. 

Ease of Transport
Tapes are small, durable and extremely easy to ship or drive to an off-site location for back-up data protection against local disasters, including fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and the like. Moving a RAID server used for back-up is more difficult, with a greater risk of shock damage. Data transfer may occur over WAN, but this is costly and time-consuming to set up.

Lower Cost
From moving to maintenance to storage of tape based backup systems, tape is cheaper. However, this advantage can also be a disadvantage, because tape-based storage can be lost or stolen in transit, leading to great security risks for businesses backing up customer information, trade secrets and other mission critical data. 

Pros of Hard Disk Based Storage

Let’s look at one of the benefits of hard disk based storage as compared to tape. Today’s encrypted hard drives permit an added level of security for hard disk based storage in RAID configurations.

One of the biggest breakthroughs with hard disk based backup is the speed of both backup times and recovery times if data needs to be accessed from the back-ups. With better compression of files and data de-duplication at the destination, less resources are used for the recovery process.

Because of the number of moving parts in a tape-based back-up system, as well as the possibility for read/write errors on the tape itself, tape back-up may be affordable but it may not provide the peace-of-mind you need for your organization.

Should Businesses Ever Back Up Data to Tape?
After reading this, you may wonder if tape is ever a wise choice. Because of its portability and affordability, tape-based backup still excels for long-term backups stored off site.

Do your hourly or daily backups locally on a RAID server back-up system, and then on a monthly or quarterly basis, back up your files to tape, stored off-site. In a worst-case data recovery emergency, you’ll have something.

Of course, since back-ups are not 100 reliable, and there is often a significant time gap between the last back-up and server failure, 24 Hour Data should be part of every Dallas company’s business continuity plan. 

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