Data Centers

Do the LTO-5 tape drives change your take on data protection?

Now that the LTO-5 tape format is available, will that change how your organization views its data protection strategy?

This week, I am at the HP StorageWorks Tech Day event in Houston. The first topic we discussed is HP's announcement that it is offering LTO-5 tape devices. LTO-5 is the natural progression of the popular tape format. LTO-5 has a native storage capacity of 1.5 TB and a compressed capacity of 3.0 TB. While it isn't exactly a surprise that LTO-5 is now available, how does tape fit into most organizations?

There are arguments for and against tape. During our sessions, a number of IT professionals said they are performing data protection exclusively via tape. For example, storage professional Devang Panchigar of StorageNerve still doesn't see the need for tape. Among the key arguments for tape is the ability to, in a way, remove the human element. One situation where storage-based data protection (such as volume replication) can be flawed compared to tape is deleting a file on one end and being immediately deleted on the other. Compounding features on storage can hedge down the "advantages" of tape compared to disk-based data protection. These features include volume snapshots on the storage system as a way to roll back to a point in time. Further, backup software such as Backup Exec, Veeam Backup, and many others can protect data by maintaining large archives of systems and data.

When it comes to architecting data protection without tape, IT professionals have options. My preference is to protect data without tape; this can be done using backup software that creates large archives of protected systems and protecting that on disk that may be replicated. The end result is that every organization needs to apply their data retention requirements to their protection strategy.

What is your take on tape-based data protection? Does LTO-5 open some doors for your options? Share your comments below.

Disclosure: The event organizer covered my tickets, meals, airfare, and accommodations. The opinions stated are the result of an in-person demonstration of the technologies discussed. Read my full blogger disclosure.

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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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