Online Backup vs Tape Backup
Tapes and backups have been synonymous for decades. There is a common misconception that backup is tape. The confusion is understandable given the history, but tape backup has always been difficult to manage. In the past we had no alternatives so we just worked with it as best as we could. Online backup can remove this hassle.
However in recent times, with the huge improvements to broadband, high reliability and the dropping price of hard drives, online backup is not just a reality, it is the smartest way to go.
Our Online Backup service is just that – a service. Tape Backup is a bunch of products, including tape drives and software, that the owner must install, configure and maintain to provide a working backup solution.
The remainder of this page sets out the practical differences between the two approaches over the lifetime of your backup data.
Timeline – Today
Starting today, with no backup solution in place, let’s compare the different approaches…
Getting Started with Online Backup
To install our Online Backup service all you have to do is:
- Decide which servers or PCs need the backup agent installed
- Install the backup agent on each system
- Install any plug-ins for complex loads (e.g. MS Exchange, databases, etc)
- Configure the files and folders to be backed up on each system
- Set the retention policies e.g. 12 months, 24 months etc
- Optionally do the first backups via portable media to save internet bandwidth. We will courier an external drive for you to load your initial backup to (there is a one-off fee for this service)
At the end of the installation you have all these aspects covered:
- Fully automated backups – no more human errors
- Secure fully encrypted backups
- Off site copies – no couriers to arrange
- Geographic redundancy – access yuor backups form anywhere using a browser and your encryption key/password.
- No software maintenance costs
- No cap-ex outlay
- Getting Started with Tape Backup
With a Tape Backup solution you need to work out a complex strategy before you even start:
- Guess how many gigabytes need backing up now and in the next few years – this determines the tape technology you will buy
- Determine the retention policy you require?
- When will you use full, differential and incremental backups?
- Can you get away with a single tape drive or an expensive tape changer model?
- What I/O card does your server need to support the tape drive? (e.g. SCSI, SAS, FC, etc)
- How will you backup business data that is only stored on PCs?
- What hardware & software do you need to buy to execute this strategy?
- Create the staff processes required for the day to day backups?
- Organise an off site tape swapping or storage strategy
- Organise a firesafe or similar to protect on-site tapes
- Get cap-ex for the tape drive, tape set, firesafe and software ($10-20K+ is not uncommon)
- Now you can start to install the solution
- Buy and install the firesafe, I/O card, tape drive, software drivers and backup software suite
- Configure your strategy into the software
- Label all tapes (electronically and physically)
- Start doing the nightly backups
- Do daily tape rotation with another office or a storage company
At the end of the installation, you have a backup, but it could be a lot better:
- Partially automated backups – tape swaps required
- Encrypted backups? Only if the tape drive or software supports it
- Off site copies – only with ongoing cost and hassle
- Geographic redundancy – only if you are regularly couriering tapes off site
- Ongoing backup software maintenance costs
- Substantial cap-ex outlay
- Of course, expect to have some of your systems administrator time taken up managing the day to day processes.