I was only thinking about throwing out the video player the other day when it crossed my mind on whether I may someday be thinking along similar lines for the Tape Backup as a viable media for data storage.

The floppy drive requiem has been more or less already written which begs the question; which is next?

There are many Tape Formats; DLT, LTO, DAT, etc and to be honest I have never had any problem with either type. They’ve always been reliable and excellent for off site data storage. Historically, whenever I spec a Server for a customer that is working from a tight budget and RAID is just a step too far for them, I usually consider the following;

1. At least 2 separate internal disks at least 250GB+ in size. We then ensure that a nightly disk-to-disk backup is performed. I like to compare this to a spare tyre scenario. If one of the disks fails, the other one has the most recent copy of the data and can be used as a temporary replacement. You can reinstall your system (no format) from the working disk drive and your data is all there from the most recent backup. This means there is no waiting for parts during a potential crisis. You can replace the punctured tyre later on without having to give your support technician the “I need it now!!” speech.. The chances of both disks failing are low and data is easily recovered during the system rebuild.

2. But, every business must have an offsite backup and right now, tape is the most common and obvious choice. Your company server may have two physical disks but if your server is lost, stolen, damaged your spare tyre is a bit useless.

Offsite storage is essential for any business that takes their data seriously which means that choosing the best option is vitally important. The tape is small, affordable and tangible which for most business owners is enough. Online disk backup is young! At present there are websites offering free storage for users. XDRIVE for example, is currently offering 5gb for free. There’s an Irish Company to keep an eye on called Keep It Safe that offers comprehensive and professional online backup from €30 a month upwards depending on the plan you choose. It’s great to see Irish Companies seizing this concept and even better to have Irish Companies providing it.

This is an emerging new market and there’s absolutely no doubt that it is the future. The question remains, When? Well, I’m not going to predict the end of the Tape just yet but with online storage improving by the day we’ll just have to wait and see.