The biggest downside to tape backups is that it’s a tape – meaning you have to start at the beginning and keep going to find what you want. Like in the old tape cassette days (which I’ve only been told about!) to find the right song meant a lot of stopping and starting, rewinding and fast-forwarding. Tapes can suffer from cartridge and media failure during backup and recovery, particularly if they are not kept in dust-free environments. This severely lengthens data recovery process, making it difficult, if not impossible, to meet Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO).
Ditching the tape means that you no longer have to worry about storing tapes or the hassle of moving them offsite as they accumulate. In some cases backups must be retained for years to comply with regulations. That’s a lot of storage space – never mind the budget impact of storing and replacing tape libraries, the associated software licenses and “bit-rot”.
Unlike tapes, cloud based backup has no upfront investment. Cloud uptime using Microsoft Azure is 99.9% and Amazon offers at least 99.99% so the likelihood of data loss due to infrastructure failure is very low.
Benefits of cloud based backups
Converting to cloud based backup offers many other advantages:
- Pay as you go usage
- Fast retrieval times
- No additional support contract or availability costs
As I mentioned earlier, you also have the option to use a cloud based backup service – managed, monitored and secured by a third party. Backup as a Service offers companies a full audit trail to help with GDPR compliance as well as SAS 70, Central Bank and regulatory bodies.
You decide how many locations your backups reside in. This usually includes an encrypted, off-site backup on a separate domain so that it is not affected in the event of a cyber-attack. You can even have a local storage backup which can improve recovery speed.
If you are using a tape-based backup solution, moving to the cloud is likely to reduce the cost involved. It also removes the risks and complexities of physical media handling and supports application recovery in the cloud.
More information on managed versus unmanaged backups.