In the 25+ years that I have been in data protection, much of it has been spent hearing about "better" alternatives to tape as a medium. Certainly, in the earlier days, tape earned its reputation of slowness or unreliability. But nothing else in IT is the same as it was twenty years ago, so why do people presume that tape hasn’t changed?
Do I believe that most recoveries should come from disk? Absolutely. But candidly, my preferred go-to would be a disk-based snapshot/replica first, and then my backup storage disks, which would presumably be deduplicated and durable.
Do I believe in cloud as a data protection medium? Definitely. But not because it is the ultimate cost-saver for cold storage. Instead, cloud-based data protection services (cloud-storage tier or BaaS) are best when you are either dealing with non-data center data (including endpoints, ROBO servers or IaaS/SaaS native data) or when you want to do more with your data than just store it (BC/DR preparedness, test/dev/analytics). Of course, ‘cloud’ isn’t actually a medium, but a consumption model for service-delivered disk or tape, but we’ll ignore that for now.
Do I believe that tape is as relevant as it’s ever been?Yes, I really do. As data storage requirements in both production and protection continue to skyrocket, retention mandates continue to lengthen, and while IT teams are struggling to ‘do more with less,’ there are many organizations that need to re-discover what modern tape (not legacy stuff) really can do for their data protection and data management strategies.
Check out this video that we did in partnership a few vendors within the LTO community:
Your organization’s broader data protection and data management strategy should almost certainly use all three mediums for what each of them are best at. Disk is a no-brainer and cloud is on everyone’s minds, but don’t forget about tape.
As always, thanks for watching.