Is a Disk-Based Backup Solution Right for Your Business?

Is a Disk-Based Backup Solution Right for Your Business?

What methods does your company have in place for data backups? For small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a move to disk-based data backup solutions may help eliminate tape-based issues and simplify data backup protection. 

For SMBs moving from tape-based backups to disk, InfoSystems engineers and technicians bring decades of experience with the latest data backup solutions. Tape-based solutions, put in place in the early 2000s, still offer SMBs peace of mind. But is moving over to a disk-based solution the right step for your business?

Vice President of Engineering at InfoSystems, Robert Goodwin, understands the hesitation from some companies to move toward disk-based solutions, for reasons including the steep learning curve of a new system or the idea that disk-based systems are too expensive. But Goodwin encourages business owners and CIOs to take a closer look at the benefits and costs of moving to a disk-based system. 

“While tape is still prevalent in the SMB space, a lot of companies are moving to a disk-based solution for speed of recovery and ease of replicating the backup data to an off-site location,” Goodwin says. “Numerous disk-based solutions have the ability to replicate to cloud targets in order to maintain an off-site copy without having to have two systems.”

When changing platforms, it’s best to consider the initial acquisition and long-term costs of the solution. Disk-based solutions are simple to administer, maintain, and upgrade over time. While they might be slightly more expensive in the initial acquisition, the long-term costs end up being less when you add in the costs of administration and maintenance. 

“Overall, disk-based backups take up less physical space than tapes based on overall capacities of the systems,” Goodwin says. “With disk-based backups, you eliminate issues like tape breaking, media compatibility with new generations of tape drives, and finding a secure and environmentally stable location to store the tapes. Disk-based backups are generally more flexible in abilities and features, tend to be more future-proof, and can be an appliance-based system that allows for a simple installation and configuration.”

Making a Smooth Transition

For a SMB moving data to a new platform, there are many factors to consider. The total amount of time to migrate can vary depending on a few factors. The total amount of backup data retained, the speed of the tape drive to read the data, the total amount of tape drives available, and throughput to the disk-based systems should be considered in the calculations. As Goodwin notes, a few terabytes of data will go more quickly than tens or hundreds of terabytes of data. The transition depends on the size and complexity of the environment. 

Goodwin recommends doing the background research to understand the age and condition of tapes and if there’s a possible vendor lock. Rule out whether or not the new system is proprietary or limited in support of other platforms, operating systems, or another vendor’s hardware. Avoid compromising the company’s backup or recovery strategy — ensure the new system meets the service-level agreements for retention periods, speed of recovery, or maintaining an air gap copy of your data for security purposes.

“Overall, the need for companies to be able to operate and recover in today’s geographically dispersed environments is driving the need for more flexible backup solutions that enable system administrators to deploy solutions that are easily adaptable in today’s cloud-rich environments,” Goodwin says. “While tape is good for local recoveries, it does not adapt well to cloud environments or allow for an easy recovery in a distant location. Disk-based solutions could handle all of the points previously mentioned, while maintaining flexibility demanded by today’s growing IT needs.”

Does your SMB need to transition from a tape-based backup solution, or otherwise need feedback on IT solutions? Consider a consultation with InfoSystems to start building a roadmap for a more secure future.

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