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Disk or Tape? The ramifications of changing data protection practices

Ganesh Kuppuswamy, Director, Arcserve India & SAARC
Monday, September 28, 2015
Ganesh Kuppuswamy, Director, Arcserve India & SAARC
Data protection practices are changing. Organisations today deal with a far broader and more complex range of data types than five or even three years ago. The IT environment is also changing, thanks to trends such as virtualisation. To keep up, data protection practices and tools have had to evolve leading to the rise of new vendors and new backup technologies.

One of the most noticeable changes during this period has been a shift in the choice of primary backup tools, with the old fashioned tape backup beginning to make way for more modern backup methods. According to Data Protection Trends and Transformation in Asia Pacific,a recent survey of IT managers throughout Asia Pacific commissioned by Arcserve, disk has finally overtaken tape to become the single largest primary backup target, used by more than half of the region's IT managers and backup administrators.

Backup options
This doesn't mean that tape has completely disappeared, nor should organisations start shelving their tape systems. More than one-third of organisations continue to rely on tape as their primary backup target. This places it well ahead of cloud and optical alternatives, both of which have yet to make any serious headway in the business backup market as primary backup targets. The study suggests the reasons disk and tape are so popular include a history of past use of the technologies, long-term cost benefits and ultimately the advantages of portability and offsite capabilities.

The changing practices have important ramifications for organisations considering their future backup needs. While it's clear there's no need for current users of tape to immediately change their practices, as existing solutions reach retirement, organisations will need to consider updating to one of the newer technologies. For businesses that are looking to make a first-time investment in a backup solution, the most prudent advice is to go for one of the latest technologies available, such as disk or cloud solution.

Complexity of backup: RPO & RTO

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