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How Reliable Are Tape Drive Back Ups
Category : IT Infrastructure Setup 05 Aug 2009 10:05 AM
Introduction.
Excuse the pun but, ask any IT consultancy in Hong Kong and they will say that the use of tape back up systems is starting to wind down. Having been in use for decades now it's not so much a question that tape back ups aren't reliable, but that there are simply newer, faster, easier to operate and, yes, even more reliable back up options today. The real (reel hmm?) problem with tape back up units in terms of security and design is that they are slow and despite having the capacity to store up to 10 gigabytes on one tape -are very cumbersome to use and store.
Tape back ups = old technology.
If you needed to back up a 10 gigabyte hard drive it could literally take you hours to do it by tape, if you're working in an environment that can afford to have hard-drives and servers down overnight, then that might not create too much of a problem in itself. However, let's face it, how many of us want systems design and implementations that could render the computers unobtainable overnight these days, potentially losing out on custom or even just enquiries? Tape back ups also pose an internal computer support issue for you, apart from the obvious reliability risk of the tape actually snapping, the slow transfer speed from disk to tape does also create a potential reliability issue - that of data loss. Almost as bad as not having a back up at all is the loss of data in a back up, which can in itself make using the tape to recover data redundant. If it were needed a final nail in the coffin for tape back ups is their susceptibility to corruption by magnetic waves from external devices. Should someone leave something as innocuous as a radio with a large speaker near a tape drive whilst recording - you might as well have been recording the radio program as the hard drives data for all the good it will do, should you need to use the tape for a system recovery.
Modern and safe back up systems for businesses.
Whether for backing up a single personal computer or a network server, external hard drives with massive amounts of storage space working at speeds that are incomparable to tape systems and can be bought for relatively low costs. Apart from the prospect of having 100 gigabytes or more backed up onto one hard disk quickly and reliably, it is the ease of access to that data should you need to recover any of it that simply knocks spots off the idea of using a tape system. External hard drives can be connected through a USB or Firewire connector, or even in the case of being needed to back up a network server they can be integrated into the network. Ideally if you are backing up a network then you'll invest in specialist back up file servers as a network solution to your backing up problem. If you're not sure what type of modern and reliable back up system would be best for you - be sure to consult with one of the established and reputable IT services providers in Hong Kong like Dual Layer IT solutions, who can also advise you about the best back up routines and software.
Home computer back up systems.
If you are responsible for your own computer support at home, without a doubt the fastest and most reliable way to back up a home computer is to buy an external hard disk drive with either a USB or Firewire connection; that is at least as big as the hard disk to be backed up. Alternatively, presuming your computer has a DVD read/writer on board, you can quickly back up your data on 4.7 gigabyte DVDs. Compared to using an external hard drive this will present a few problems. First you might need more than one DVD and secondly without specialist software you won’t be able to easily back up the computer systems software and files or applications software. To get around this it is vital that you keep up to date 'Recovery' DVDs for the computers operating system, as advised by the computers manufacturer, and keep all of the software installation CDs/DVDs for the programs you use. If in doubt consult with one of the Honk Kong computer support companies.
Online back ups.
You might also want to consult an IT support provider about a web solution - online back up systems. These can be very useful if you have any important data files that need backing up and yet also need them to be available to you universally over the internet.