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Digital tape turns 60

by on April 23, 2012

Happy birthday, digital tape. You’re not old enough to retire just yet, but a lot of people have seen your AARP card and think we don’t need you anymore. Before you go shuffling off to Florida, though, we’d like to review how you’re still in the game.

It’s safer

Yes, not only is buying tape space cheaper but maintaining it is too. Think about all those people you have sitting around poking through your cloud. How well are they trained? How well are they certified? Do you know all of them personally? Even if you can personally or professionally vouch for your entire IT department, risks are still apparent, as a breach can run you more than $7 million into the hole, and that’s just for the data you know you’ve lost.

It’s cheaper

If you’re storing a terabyte of information, you could do it with tape management for about $20, or you could do it with SATA memory for $120. Then you can pay to multiply that by all your storage needs, plus the physical footprint all those drives will need for storage and maintenance, and the bottom line starts to get considerably higher. Sure, you could put everything to the cloud in an online program like Google’s Vault or the like, but then you’re putting all your sensitive data online where every hacker in the world can access it, as opposed to written on an encrypted backup tape where it would take nifty thieves to capture the information.

It’s disaster-ready

Imagine your office gets hit by a hurricane, a tornado, a flood, an earthquake, a massive power outage, a tsunami, a blizzard or a bomb. Okay, maybe not a bomb. But if your computers are destroyed and you need all of your files restored once your operations are back online, how do you intend to get that petabyte of data back? Ted Stevens’s analogy of the internet as a “series of tubes” helps illustrate just how tedious and unrealistic that process is. Business continuity could mean the difference between a huge loss, as about half of all businesses that lose their data will have to close or file for bankruptcy.

If you’ve got tape backups you can just have it all mailed to you. Go ahead and hit your ‘easy’ button.

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