Navigating the Tape Backup Strategy as Part of the Hybrid Cloud Strategy

Navigating the Tape Backup Strategy as Part of the Hybrid Cloud Strategy | Zmanda

We’re entering a new world where data might be more important than software. ~ Tim O’Reilly

In the realm of big data analytics, data science, and research centers generating abundant amounts of data to be verified and studied over time, data supersedes all things powerful. As Tim mentioned, we have seen the growing importance of data and its management over the choice of software that uses it. However, such a powerful tool goes hand in hand with the challenging task of data storage.

Tapes, hard drives, CDs, hard disks, cloud storage, pen drives, cassettes, etc., the list of storage devices are limitless, but the kind of data stored influences the decision of which device to use. Unfortunately, all these devices have their pros and cons, and selecting just one device is a tricky choice. Thus, hybrid environments came into picture. Why use a single device when you can get the best of all worlds? Integrating the advantages of the various devices and nullifying their disadvantages provides the best environment for your data.

“Three copies on two different media, one offsite, and one offline.” ~ The mantra of data storage.

The 3-2-1 Backup Rule

3-2-1 Backup Strategy Steps | Zmanda

Delving deeper into the 321 data backup rule, we understand the need for a hybrid environment. Data present on-premise is easily accessible and should be the first recovery option. Should that fail, cloud data present online is accessible at your fingertips with just the press of a couple of buttons. In the event of a calamity or an untoward disaster, data stored offline in tapes can get the company up and running in no time. Such a hybrid environment ensures to aid all types of storage issues, thus being the most sought-after storage solution for backup and disaster recovery.

But what kind of cloud storage are we exactly talking about here? The hybrid cloud storage. 

What Is Hybrid Cloud?

Hybrid cloud is a method of mixed computing that involves on-premise infrastructure blended with private and public cloud services. Hybrid cloud storage facilitates the storage of dissimilar data. Dissimilar data meant different storage devices capable of supporting them were required. Thus vendors with different expertise partnered together to tick the requirements of the market and its clients to provide optimal hybrid cloud solutions.

What is hybrid cloud | Zmanda

In recent times, clouds have relied heavily on tape storage to provide an economical solution with tremendous scalability. Cloud and tape storage intertwine their characteristics to tick off all the requirements of an effective storage system. With clouds’ ability to provide its users with an intricate yet easy to handle user interface and tapes’ ability to secure data offline, the users truly experience the combined and more powerful advantage of the two.

Fact Time

Tapes are NOT a costly medium. A common misconception is that hard drives are a cheaper alternative over tapes and hence should be the preferred offline storage medium. However, the statistics say otherwise. 

Fact time | Zmanda
The above graph is from Fujitsu, a leader in the production of magnetic tapes.

We’ve acknowledged the role of tapes in a hybrid environment, but 

What Does It Contain?

Interestingly, there is no one correct answer to this question. Undoubtedly, tapes are used essentially for data archival or cold storage data i.e. data accessed infrequently, but the size and type of data are influential in determining its other functionalities. 

Data backup vs Archiving

Archiving data is not to be confused with backing up data. Backups are copies of data that come into play in the advent of natural disasters or hardware failures. Archiving data, however, is the process of storing data for years together. It comes into the picture when data retention is required.

Large databases, objects, containers, etc., are stored on tapes, while small databases are stored on disks. Thus factors that dictate the type of data stored on tapes are:

  • Size 
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) to be achieved
  • Frequency of access 
  • Importance and value
  • Retention period

Taking into consideration these factors, data stored on tapes have their domain expanded from just archival storage. 

We have the data stored in tapes, but for how long?

Our next stop in the data storage journey, the data retention policy. It is a set of guidelines that help organizations keep track of their data, determine their retention period and the methods for its disposal. Companies can thus establish a timeline that best fits their needs. With such flexibility and its ability to be tailored to our requirements, hybrid environments scores a hefty amount of points in our books.

Tapes, Drives, and Cloud, Where Should the Data Go First?

Hard drives being onsite are the entry point for data storage. However, data that are to be vaulted can travel straight into tape storage. By taking into account the following:

  • Price/GB storage in the various media
  • Frequency of access
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
  • Capital spent on building the tape library

and so on, an organization can determine the appropriate storage media. 

From a hardware perspective, it is essential to account for the lifetime of the storage devices. Hard drives have various components that are susceptible to damage and are thus a potential threat to the data. This facilitates the need for tapes that serve as a simple offline backup system. Further, hard drives have lifelines of about four years, while the data to be stored would have to be archived for decades to come. Hence data can be retained in hard drives for a short duration and then must be migrated to tapes to establish an effective storage system.

From a global perspective, companies will have to account for the market values of the storage media and the revenue spent in establishing the tape storage system. With fluctuating prices of cloud and hard drives, the one-shot investment in tapes compensates for the same. Thus, such hybrid environments integrate themselves in a manner that brings out the best in each other. 

The best way to understand is with an example. 

Zenn Innovations

Zen Innovations | Zmanda

Zenn Innovations is home to the Global Trade Tracker, an extremely powerful web-based tool that grants its users access to trade statistics from the world’s principal trading countries. Zenn witnessed a steady growth in the amount of data as multiple countries turned clients. However, the challenge didn’t stop there. Zenn had to not just store the data in a viable platform but also ensure that it was compatible with its various tools to analyze the data and provide the game-changing statistics to its customers.

Zenn started off with by using scripts and manual backup procedures, a truly tasking process, and it thus turned out to be just a temporary solution. Zenn required backups with quick recovery time and timely backups that were automated to work efficiently. Further, bearing in mind the complexities of scalability and the manual labor involved, Zenn was in search of a trustworthy partner to deliver the same. Insert into the picture Zmanda.

Zmanda Enterprise offered the best integration of services across multiple platforms at the best price. With our expertise in tapes, drives, and cloud, Zmanda offered a seamless knit of all the storage media controlled with a user-friendly web-based GUI. The big three never fail. Tapes with its ability to scale up with ease, the cloud’s cost-efficient ability to secure data, and drives with its transfer rates, all bound together have provided the best playground for data. Hybrid environments had once again saved the day. Click here to know more.

Hardware and Backup Together? The Perfect Duo.

Zmanda's partnership with Spectra | Zmanda

Zmanda’s partnership with Spectra. 

We are known for providing software that seamlessly integrates your storage media and a resilient backup system. With exponential growth in data, Zmanda tied up with Spectra to offer their customers fast installation, simplified management, enterprise-class functionality, and a cost-effective storage solution. Spectra produce tapes and disks that were designed from scratch to meet the demand in the market. Together, they provide the user with a centralized data management system for multiple IT environments and a secure long-term storage solution. Read more about it by clicking here.

Spectra Logic's popular Black Pearl NAS technology | Zmanda

Zmanda and Spectra have joint forces to give you the best long-term data backup solution. With Zmanda’s expertise in the tape industry and in providing robust backup software and Spectra Logic’s popular Black Pearl NAS technology and their tape libraries, your data would have the best experience with us. 

Data has never found a better companion, and our enterprise customers have never been happier. Data backup has never been easier. The ideal yet realistic solution, the complementing benefits of the trio, all in one place. Zmanda’s clientele has had a wide range of pre-requisites and necessities that were fulfilled after numerous interactions with the clients and well-thought-out execution by our team. With an expanding skill-set nurtured under the evolution of data storage and maestros of the field, Zmanda offers quality products like no other. Reach out to our talented team with years of experience to have a free consult