It holds our kids’ pictures on the wall.
Tape delay allows us to see the Olympics at a decent hour.
Tape rescues a torn hem on your pants before you walk into that really important meeting where you have to be taken seriously.
But tape can get expensive. And we’re not talking about the Scotch brand that sits in the refill roller in the mailroom. We’re talking about the tape that some companies spend – believe it or not – up to $250,000 a year on, plus the equipment to run it. That’s the tape which stores all their enterprise data.
And yeah, THAT company also has an employee who’s most important job is to make sure that they are sitting there at the precise moment the tape ejects to collect it and run it to an off-site climate controlled storage facility (i.e., remote back-up) so that the CEO can sleep at night knowing that in the event of an unfortunate act of God such as a flood or earthquake or tornado, his company’s information is secure and he will have the blessings of business continuity. (Well, he hopes.)
Except, is it safe? Tapes get stretched and those little buggers don’t give you any error message about the integrity of the medium. You really can go just “so long” running on tapes before wearing them out, and you know, there’s the whole space thing. They only hold so much.
But that’s cool if you like tapes and the whole play and pray game. It’s just that when you restore to tape, you have to have the exact same hardware to get them to play and of course pray that it was a good backup since there’s really no way or knowing if your data protection was successful unless you tried to restore it. But you can always try a previous tape, or the next earlier one, and so on until you find one that works. And remember to load all your software first because that doesn’t get saved on the tapes.
So, I guess it really comes down to the type of tape you like. We like 8-track tapes in a retro-chic Smithsonian kind of way, just like we happen to think of tape backup around here. It’s a nostalgic part of corporate history. But for companies serious about disaster recovery, we’re pretty sure that if you’re still using tape, you might want to take a look at some of our more sophisticated remote backup software solutions that provide advanced data protection with full system recovery – including applications, without all that running around to the storage facilities.
But don’t tell the tape runner dude. He’ll be disappointed that he’s out of a job next week.
Have a crazy “play and pray” story? Enter our November contest: Tell us your most bizarre and convoluted backup method and we’ll send one winner a new Flip Video camera! Enter your comments below: