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Posts Tagged ‘tape vs disk’

Thinking green? Think tape

Posted by Preston on 2009-06-27

Many companies are now becoming increasingly aware of the importance of either achieving carbon neutrality, or at least being as green as possible.

If your company is trying to think green, then let me ask you this. For long term backup storage, which of the following two is likely to be more energy efficient?

  • Writing backups to tape which is then stored in a temperature controlled room,


  • Writing backups to disk arrays which are kept in temperature controlled rooms and permanently running.

Much has been said of late about deduplication this, or deduplication that, and I’ll agree – deduplication is a valid and important emergant technology in the field of backup and recovery. But it’s not a silver bullet, regardless of how many disk storage vendors want it to be. The problem is that many of the deduplication products currently touted are ineffectual at high speed “tape-out” operations, and thus, rely on keeping backups on-line on disk – with replicas maintained to another location. That’s a whole lot of spinning disk.

The simple fact of the matter is that not only is offline tape safer than spinning disk drives, it’s also considerably more power efficient.

I want it clear here – I’m not arguing that all backup should go exclusively to tape. There’s a middle line between green and practicality that remains necessary to be walked, meaning that more frequently accessed backup for many companies needs to be in some disk form initially.

Long term backups, archives, and offsite copies however are all forms of backups that should be on green, safe technology – and that’s tape.

If you want to think green in your datacentre, think tape.

Posted in Backup theory, NetWorker, Policies | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »