Backup Tape Media Technology Versus Disk-Based Storage Format

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Published: 08th August 2012
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Backup storage has become the key strategy to the sustainability and success of an organization. The data preservation challenges become amplified as the stringent data retention legislations force the companies to preserve their corporate records. The major data storage technologies are tape and disk-based formats. Backup tape solution is more resilient, economical and reliable than disk storage technology. In this article, a comparison between these two data storage formats has been made to help IT managers make a smart decision while selecting the backup media technology.

Backup tape technology delivers substantially lower acquisition cost and longer archival life than disk storage formats. More than 7 times reduction in operational cost and initial savings of 75 percent and readily achievable with tape-based backup system. When we compare the native throughput speed of disk with that of tape-based technology, the backup tape is much faster and more reliable. The market leading LTO tape drives deliver sustained data throughput speed of well over 100 MB/second. The newest generation LTO 5 tape technology achieves a super-fast speed of 140MB/s, which is almost 50% higher than the data transfer speed of SATA RAID 5 and RAID 6 disk storage technologies.

Over the years, the tape media technology has always delivered higher recording capacity than backup disk solutions. But the capacity gap seemed to have reversed with the introduction of SATA 2TB disk technology. The LTO-4 ultrium cartridge offering 800GB capacity appeared to be slipped behind. Thanks to the new technical enhancement in magnetic tape recording, the tape format has regained its top position. The LTO 5 ultrium cartridge delivers an outstanding 1500 GB data storage capacity.

RDX cartridge is the leading disk-based backup solution, which offers up to 1TB storage capacity. Imation, IBM and HP (Hewlett-Packard) are few of the market leading RDX brands. The major tape formats are Travan, DLT, DAT/DDS, Super DLT or SDLT, SLR, LTO ultrium, AIT and VXA tape.

Tape storage formats also feature data compressing functionality. Data compression provides a dramatic increase to the media storage capacity of backup tapes as well as the data transfer speed of tape drives. Majority of the tape formats offer 2:1 data compression such as LTO, VXA, SDLT, Travan tape. The AIT (advanced intelligent tape) format features greater compression of 2.6:1.

Backup tape format provides the best balance of security, speed and operational cost. The RAID-5 disk system is economical, but does not offer robust data security, whereas the RAID-10 disk solution delivers reliable data security and higher performance but is not cost-efficient. Read-after-write is an intelligent feature offered by the tape-based solutions, which ensure superior data integrity even under heavy duty cycles.

The IT managers can eliminate the risk of physical damage to the tapes due to rough handling by housing them in a tape library system. In this way, the users can easily manage their data through automated backup operations. Additionally, the backup tapes are strong enough to tolerate inadvertent drops. So you can preserve the backup tapes off-site for disaster protection.

Longer archival life, consistent performance, lower operational costs and robust data protection are the strong reasons why the backup tape technologies continue to lead the data storage industry.

Product and software names mentioned throughout this article are trademarks and are sole property of their owners.

Frank Miller is the Marketing Manager of Backuptape and markets Backuptapes.net and Support. He has vast experience in the marketing and trading industries and has been helping buyers who have the backup needs and guide clients about the technology.

Frank Miller
3984 Washington Blvd #503 Fremont CA 94538
Tel: 888-686-8273
Fax: 888-449-5050
Email: sales@backuptapes.net

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