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Long term storage - tape or disk

Post by rogersillars »


We currently backup/replicate to our DR site daily and then go to tape once a month for long term archiving. It looks like our tape autoloader is about to need replacing. I’ve done the numbers and by the time you add up a new autoloader and 3 tapes per month it works out more expensive than using a 2TB SATA drive per month.

The advantages of disks:
Less up front cost (not $1000s for a tape drive)
Fast access for recovery
Capacity increases as new drives come out, tape drives require new drive and tapes
We wouldn't need a 3rd party product (eg BackupExec) for writing to tape
It should be heaps easer to recover as you won’t need to work out what software was used & what sort of tape it is as it would be USB/SATA and NTFS file system

The only think I can think of that tape would have the advantage is the longevity of the data, though that seems debatable how long data lasts on tape. I've read things on the mean time to failure for hard disks but in this instance it should be much less of a risk as the disks would only be used once and then archived (powered off). However can’t seem to find anything on how long data can sit on a HDD and still be read.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me?


Vitaliy S.
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Re: Long term storage - tape or disk

Post by Vitaliy S. »

Hello Roger,

If I were you I would switch to cheap NAS or just use SATA drives to offload your backups for DR purporses. The hard disk is actually very durable, and good maintenance from your side will ensure its long life. If it is not exposed to extreme temperatures, and does not suffer from physical damage, I believe it can easily make it up to ten years.

On the other hand, if you are concerned about loosing the data due to hardware disk corruption or any other reason, you should definitely use systems which provide redundancy (for example, RAID 6) in your DR to protect the data.

I hope that our community members will also be able to give you an input on this matter.

Thank you!


Re: Long term storage - tape or disk

Post by rogersillars »

Thanks for your input. We're going to go NAS as well as offline disk for longer term archive.

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