Is Tape Backup still relevant for SMB’s?
One thing which we get asked is if tape backup still relevant for SMB? Tape did take a dip at the end of the 2000’s – however it’s usage has increased in the 2010’s.
In saying this; there can be a few things that can help understand if tape backup is still relevant for your SMB.
As with everything storage; capacity has come along in leaps and bounds. Over the last few years the same has happened with tape. Since 2012; tape capacity has increased from around 2.5TB per tape. LTO-8 which is the latest generation is capable of storing a massive 12TB!
No worries in regards to the capacity requirements – however check the section below to see if it’s cost effective.
Cost compared to other removable media
With tape, there are two elements which are necessities when it comes to tape backup:
– A tape drive
– A pool of tapes to rotate
Depending on which generation of tape drive used; will determine the cost. If using LTO-4; the native (without compression) capacity is around 800GB per tape. If purchasing from Hewlett Packard directly; an LTO-4 tape drive will cost $1650.00.
The cost for tapes is anywhere between $20 and $60. A solid rotation of tapes is usually 5 to 10 for SMB’s depending on the requirements.
This means that all up; you’re looking at around $1,850 to $2,200 just in hardware alone.
To put this in comparison; 3TB USB 3 external hard drives are available for $100 to $125 each. This means you could purchase between 15 – 20 USB hard drives for the same investment price.
Cloud storage is also a factor
Cloud is the current buzz term in the IT world. Storage costs for cloud are reducing every day just for the fact that there are more and more providers in this space. As they say, competition is good for the consumer!
The main area where cloud has become a direct alternative for tape is for archiving data and for data compliance.
A minus against cloud in recent years is the security of the data. Who has access to the data? Online storage providers now provide the function to select the geographic location of the data center your data is sent to. As well as providing the option for full encryption.
However; with tape there isn’t any reliance on a third party to keep their word.
There is also the added point that backup software is now gearing itself towards the cloud, and options are becoming limited for SMB’s.
So is tape backup still relevant for SMB…
The advantages of tape are potentially countered by other backup destinations. It’s no longer a viable backup strategy for SMB.
The other big factor is that SMB’s usually try and do more with less – which means that the overall cost of implementing a comprehensive backup strategy around tape can be out of reach without a significant investment.
Weigh up all the options and select the method of backup and archive which is best for your business.