As Internet and storage costs continue to decline, the cost of online data storage is falling dramatically. Many CIOs and IT Managers are reassessing the use of traditional tape backup methods and moving to online data storage and backup.
In the process of designing and listening to mid-size business’ needs for online data storage, Online Tech uncovered 7 tips that IT managers gave when assessing the move from tape to online data storage.
Tip #1 – Consider the Costs. Rapidly declining storage and Internet costs has made online storage far more cost effective over the last 12 months. For example, services starts at $199 for 100 GB and scales at $1 per GB thereafter. The real cost of tape backup includes a lot more than just the tapes. When you add up the hardware, maintenance, personnel costs, tape pickup and drop off, and offsite storage, online data storage can be a much more cost effective alternative.
Tip #2 – Consider the Security Risks. Tape backup puts critical data on to a physical medium, which then has multiple points of human contact. Each of these points of contact introduces risk. It’s not unusual to see tapes in an unsecured holding area waiting for daily pickup. A tape transported in a trusted employee’s car can be stolen. If a tape is accessed when in storage, will it ever be detected?
Online data storage and backup eliminate physical security risks associated with tapes. Data can be automatically transported over a secure, encrypted VPN tunnel into a SAS 70 & SSAE 16 audited, secure data center, and never touch human hands.
Tip #3 – Consider Reliability. Experts estimate that anywhere from 10% to 40% of tape backups fail, depending on who you talk to. Yet everyone agrees that the risk of lost data from tapes is real. For most IT managers, losing even 10% of their data in an IT disaster recovery scenario would be catastrophic.
Online data storage, on the other hand, delivers the reliability of redundant RAID configured hard drives - many orders of magnitude higher reliability than tape storage.
Tip #4 – Consider the Recovery Time Objective. In most disaster recovery plans, recovery time objective (RTO) is the critical metric around which backup systems are designed. To achieve lower recovery times, tape recovery often becomes the bottleneck with the amount of time it takes to get backup tapes transported to the recovery site, mounted and the data transferred back to hard drives.
Online data storage can dramatically reduce the recovery time with near instant data recovery. The data is already loaded and readily available for access at an alternative site over the Internet.
Tip #5 – Consider the Ease of Use. Let’s face it, no one on the IT staff enjoys the tape rotation duty. Loading and unloading tapes, verifying the backups were successful and preparing the tapes to be picked up is an extra burden on a typically overworked IT staff. Not to mention scheduling around weekends, vacations and sick time.
Online data storage eliminates the hassles involved with tape backup. Map the online storage to a drive on your server, and you can automate backups without any human interaction.
Tip #6 – Consider the Capacity and Storage Time. Here’s where the real tapes may have an advantage in certain situations. If multi-Terabyte data sets need to be written on a regular basis and stored for extended periods of time to meet regulatory requirements, tape backup may be more cost effective than online storage today. For example, two TB of data per month, stored for 7 years is 168 TB of data. While more cost effective today, it wouldn’t be surprising to see even these applications move to online backup in the next 2 - 3 years.
At the same time, daily backups and continuous data archiving where the data can be readily accessed, both lend themselves readily to online data storage.
Tip #7 – Consider Upload Speeds and Daily Transfer. One of the “hidden secrets” of low end online data storage providers like Mozy is how they limit upload speeds from 200 to 500 Kbps - effectively limiting the amount of data you can backup each day. At 200 Kbps, Mozy effectively limits a 12 hour nightly backup to less than 1 GB.
Higher-end online data storage offers 5 and 10 Mbps upload options which allow you to transfer up to 100 GB per day uncompressed. It also includes free data seeding, over a USB drive, to quickly load all of the data before backups or archive starts online.
Online data storage can offer an easy, cost effective alternative for backing up servers or archiving data from your location into a secure, high availability data center. The new online data storage products from Online Tech, can easily integrate with your existing backup software to provide a low cost alternative to tape backup with stronger security, higher reliability, and a much faster recovery time.