Magnetic tapes, although still used by businesses worldwide, rely on technology developed in the 1950’s. Even though the technology has improved, tapes cannot be counted upon as the primary method of Disaster Recovery. Tape systems are still more prevalent than you would think, and are more commonly active in successful, mature businesses.
Why are Tape Backups Insufficient?
A major percentage of tape restores fail
Sources vary on the exact percentage of restoration failure. Conservative estimates report a 15% failure rate. Reliable companies’ estimate 20 – 45%, while many experts agree it could be over 50% when dealing with older tapes. Regardless of which statistic is accurate, the fact that failure is common is enough to say this technology can’t be relied on as your only restoration source.
You have to physically take them offsite (but most people don’t bother)
In order for tape backups to be safe, your archival process should include moving the tapes to another location. There is a significant human responsibility in the process of changing and moving tapes, and we all know that employees take time off, change responsibilities and sometimes leave. All too often this process becomes broken and ultimately forgotten.
Tapes are susceptible to environmental conditions and they wear out
Magnetic tapes are not a perfect medium. Exposure and corruption cause a large portion of tapes to be unusable, and even under perfect handling and storage they have a life span. Typically you discover that a tape has failed at the worst time…when you need to restore.
Tapes have an ongoing cost for replacement
Over time magnetic tapes will suffer from deterioration called sticky-shed syndrome. The tapes become unusable as they absorb moisture into the binder of the tape. They must be replaced regularly and this can get expensive. In addition, tape drives or libraries have to be upgraded for larger capacities on an ongoing basis.
Tape Systems do not meet the ThinkGard Disaster Recovery Protocol
A Disaster Recovery Solution is much more than a local tape backup system. It is a system that incorporates 3 core principles to ensure 100% certainty in your ability to recover.
Principle 1: A local device that stores your data and server configurations and is readily available for virtualized operation in the event of a disaster. This device should also manage the replication process that meets Principle 2.
Principle 2: A remote storage solution which securely accepts and encrypts your data and configurations in at least 2 distant locations which are greater than 500 miles away from your facility. This solution should offer the ability to virtualize the operating systems and allow complete continuity in a cloud environment.
Principle 3: A stringent testing regime, which involves creating mock failure scenarios and verifying your ability to locally and remotely recover your servers and virtualize the critical operating systems. This is the most important aspect of the solution because until you successfully test your system, you can’t claim its ability to insure recovery.
The bottom line is this…..
Disaster Recovery is a critical part of any business continuity process, but tape backups cannot be your lifeline. The technology is old, the process loses integrity over time and the ability to recover is never 100% certain. It’s too risky and too local.
At ThinkGard our ultimate goal is to create a Business Continuity Solution that provides you with absolute certainty that your data and operating systems are fully backed up and always immediately available.
You have very little ability to prevent or avoid a disaster, but you can have 100% control of your certain ability to rapidly recover and continue your business!