Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Jignesh Solanki, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

The Best of Both Worlds

Disk and tape backups: an optimal solution

Speedy disk backups are gaining in popularity as networking demands increase, but the traditional tape data protection won't disappear overnight. Maybe it's time to think about the best of both worlds.

With more and more pressure on Linux system administrators to protect data and make it readily accessible 24 hours a day, an increasing number of companies are looking for alternatives or supplemental solutions to traditional client-to-tape backup/restore.

Faced with budget constraints and a steadily escalating need for quick if not instant data recovery, disk-to-disk backup is an option that some businesses have implemented. Both Linux-based hardware and software manufacturers are moving to meet the increased demand for methods that don't rely exclusively on tape backup.

Comparing disk backup to tape backup isn't really an exercise in what is best. More realistically, the comparison is based on what is most appropriate in terms of networking demands and structure.

Complete backup and restore is, of course, the best protection against data loss and the two foremost methods available are tape or hard disk systems. Historically, tape has been the preferred method because tape cartridges were inherently cheaper than disk drives. A secondary reason was that tape cartridges were portable and could be stored away from the computer system. Since the disk drive was internal to the PC, it could not be removed and/or stored easily or conveniently.

However, technology evolves to meet demands. The design of system/drive components has steadily pushed down the cost of disk drives, resulting in a competitive alternative to pure tape systems. Of equal significance is the fact that tape is comparatively slow and sequential, sometimes making it difficult to find files quickly. Disk drives, on the other hand, rely on direct random access, noteworthy time-saving (time = money) and read/write efficiencies that translate into enhanced productivity, and a potential drop in operating costs.

Industry professionals who tout disk-to-disk options point out advantages that are primarily related to instant access of mission-critical information. They claim:

  • Much shorter backup windows with little or no downtime
  • Rapid restore
  • Cost effective
Users and servers are increasingly scattered across wide-ranging time zones, leading to applications and data being available 24x7x365.

For data to be unavailable during a backup window of significant duration is no longer just inconvenient, it's unacceptable. In highly competitive situations, businesses of all sizes need up-to-the-minute data protection without sacrificing high availability.

Disk-to-disk can shorten or eliminate some backup window problems. Simply put, writing straight to disk is faster than to tape. Downtime is reduced or eliminated, thus decreasing the time when data is vulnerable to loss.

Similarly, restoring data from a disk is quicker than from tape. Instant access to files is possible for everyone on the network without a time-costly restore of huge tape archives.

It should be pointed out that some software users (and producers) advocate disk backup because their backup software does not allow the multiplexing or multistreaming of data to tape drives. This software limitation is avoided by multiple access to disk applications.

The cost factor between the two methods is also becoming less and less substantial. Disk-based storage hardware prices are at an all-time low. When considering speed and capacity ratios, hard disks can offer an impressive return on investment. While tape has historically been substantially less expensive than equivalent disk storage, disk prices have fallen dramatically (and capacities grown) to the point where disk-based systems have become a financially feasible alternative to tape-based systems, while delivering significantly superior performance.

Tape drive backups are still easier to secure, either by archiving to a different site, or by pulling the tape each night and taking a copy home in your backpack. High volume disk arrays are just not as flexible when formulating security guidelines.

In actuality, the combination of disk and tape backup is an optimal solution for many businesses, especially if there is a regular need for quickly retrieving and restoring files as part of business demands. Data is backed up to a hard drive, giving users immediate access to the previously saved files. Meanwhile, the disk array is backed up offline to archive the files as they change. Users don't lose any working time and data isn't vulnerable for long periods of downtime. The tape drives can be at a different location or duplicated by tape management software in order to take a copy offsite.

Essentially, then, the question "Is disk or tape backup best?" isn't as valid as "What's right for my configuration and network demands?"

More Stories By Phil Roussel

Phil Roussel is chief executive officer and cofounder of Arkeia Corporation.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...