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The More Things Change …

by on May 22, 2008

As I get ready for Symantec Vision 2008 show in Las Vegas next month (be sure to drop by our booth), I was thinking about how tape management has evolved over the years. 

Since the dawn of the information age, there have been backups of data stored on media. And as the value of  a company’s data has grown in importance, so has the need to easily store, move, track and protect the media that contains that backup data.

The very first business computers reserved all their disk space (once called packs) for core system files, forcing the data center to write all their information to tapes. The center assigned time slots to each data center operator. The operators, during their time slots, loaded round-reel tapes into vacuum drives and waited while the computer downloaded both data and application software to tape. In those days, if you lost a tape, you lost everything—applications as well as data. Tracking and protecting tapes could have been the difference between a company’s success or failure.

Today’s need for media management differs slightly from those early days. Software comes on CDs or off the web. Media include all types of tapes as well as CDs and removable disks. Open systems and networked environments have also had a drastic impact on media management. (Read the whitepaper we put out for more information on managing media in a networked environment.)

But the need to manage backup media is still as critical as ever, and maybe even more so. The amount of data companies produce increases exponentially every year, and in turn, so has the amount of backup media.

Moreover, compliancy and litigation issues have created requirements for retention schedules as well as security and accessibility standards for backup data that need to be met or risk debilitating fines. Once again, tracking and protecting tapes could have been the difference between a company’s success or failure.

As we go forward and as technology advances, the expectations for tape and data management will become even more rigorous—which brings me back to Symantec Vision 2008. We’ll be debuting a new product at the show that will take tape and data management to the next level.

But more about that later.

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