What's the role of tape backup in disaster recovery?

Tape was once the most important component of disaster recovery. Learn how this role has changed and what role tape backup plays in disaster recovery today.

Q: What's the role of tape backup in disaster recovery?

Tape [backup] certainly has a role, but it's not as prominent as it used to be. If you go back six or eight years ago, tape was pretty much the primary method for doing disaster recovery. Everything was backed up to tape and sent off-site, and then if a disaster occurred, the tape backups were brought back on-site. The problem that tape is running into today is the length of time it takes to not only get the data to tape, but also getting that data off the tape, to recover the data, is a very lengthy process.

About the expert
Bob Laliberte is an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group. He focuses on storage management software, infrastructure, professional services and business continuity. Listen to Bob's answers on data recovery by downloading his disaster recovery services FAQ podcast.

What we're seeing now are new technologies, such as virtual tape libraries, disk-based backups and so forth, starting to replace tape. These technologies are enabling companies to accelerate the backup windows, making them much shorter, and enabling people to recover the data much faster. What we're seeing tapes still being used for is archiving data, so for long-term retention of data, tape is still playing a significant role.

This was first published in May 2008

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