– Peri Grover, Director of Product Marketing for Overland Storage (www.overlandstorage.com), says:
Tape is like insurance. You’re tempted to save a few bucks by doing without it, but the cost of not having it when you need it can be catastrophic. Without a tape backup solution, or with the wrong tape backup solution, a company can lose access to data and either fire their IT manager, face severe regulatory fines for not being able to reproduce data, or flat out go out-of-business. Tape is rarely top of mind to an IT manager. An IT manager is more likely thinking about server performance, network connectivity, application availability, etc. But tape should be an integral part of the data backup process and it should be on every IT manager’s mind. An IT manager should always be thinking about the different use cases of the data he/she is assigned to manage and keep in mind that a tape-based solution like Overland’s NEO offerings plays a vital role in the long-term data backup and archive process.
Enterprises today are more than likely using disk-based technologies to store data in the short-term … data that is mission critical, accessed frequently and needs to be retrieved within seconds. However, according to a study done by The University of California Santa Cruz, 90% of the data stored on disk is never accessed again. This doesn’t mean a company doesn’t need/shouldn’t keep the data but it does mean that they need to move that data off of disk to a more economical storage solution, saving expensive disk space for that data that needs to be retrieved frequently and instantaneously. This is where NEO comes into play. NEO solutions provide the benefit of automated, high-capacity, cost-effective, energy-efficient long-term storage, whether it’s for backup or archive. A NEO solution will provide a variety of different storage capacity points (ranging from 4.8TB to 3PB), still retrieve data extremely fast (up to 1TB/hr), minimize the use of valuable data center floorspace and provide the most energy-efficient solution for data storage. The end result is that the IT manager reduces his/her cost of ownership of the storage solution.
The Biggest Tape Challenges for Data Center and IT Managers
Given the technology advancements in tape-based solutions over the last several years, tape doesn’t pose any particular challenges to data center and IT managers from a technology point of view. Tape solutions provide clear advantages in terms of storage capacity, speed of data transfer, long-term reliability, portability, useability and affordability. The biggest challenges faced by IT managers are likely planning for the growth in data storage and making sure that they have a solution that can accommodate those changes.
The ideal automated tape storage solution seamlessly addresses the challenges faced by data centers and IT managers. Tape solutions provide clear advantages in terms of storage capacity, speed of data transfer, long-term reliability, portability, useability and affordability. The biggest challenges faced by IT managers are likely in planning for growth in data storage and making sure that they have a solution that can accommodate those changes.
In today’s economy, tight IT budgets demand storage solutions that are easy to deploy, manage and maintain without under or over buying technology. Having a solid understanding of the needs of the entire storage infrastructure is key to making the right technology decisions. Making sure that your data is protected with automated tape storage solutions such as the NEO Series from Overland Storage is vital to ensuring the ongoing availability of your company’s most critical asset.
Overcoming The Challenges
Data center and IT managers need to give careful consideration to how much data (remember the 90% rule from above) will ultimately end up on tape and make sure they choose a solution that has all of the right elements to address their useability, affordability and availability requirements.
Think about cost of ownership. Considering the intense budgetary pressure most IT/data center managers are faced with, it’s easy to be drawn to a solution that has the lowest purchase price. But they should really think about what this solution is going to cost them in the long run. For example, how does the reliability of the product compare to other solutions and what impact could a potentially less reliable solution have on costs of downtime? What are the maintenance costs of the solution, both in the short-term and the long-term. How adaptable is the product to changes in storage requirements – a solution that is designed to be flexible and adaptable will incur far fewer costs in the long-term. What kind of features do you really need in your tape backup solution? It’s easy to get enticed by a lot of bells & whistles, but if you don’t really need those features, they can end up costing more money and resulting in reliability issues. How important is data availability to you and what kind of data availability features does the solution offer? For example, if you have a scaled tape library environment in which data availability is critical to you, and your solution doesn’t offer the necessary redundancy features, you’ve likely paid for a solution that doesn’t deliver what you need.
In today’s economy with tighter IT budgets companies have to buy technology affordable hardware and software that is easy to deploy, manage and maintain without under or over buying technology. Having a solid understanding of the needs for the entire storage infrastructure may lead to an unexpected technology decision. That’s why it’s so important to be diligent with planning so that there are no surprises when deployment begins.