Why I Switched From Tape to Disk


Tom Riggio is vice president of sales for Connecticut Computer Service (CTCOMP). “I hate these tapes. Can’t you guys get rid of them?” For years I wanted to tell my customers, “Yes! We hate tapes, too.” But for a long time, tape backup was the best backup and disaster recovery solution we could offer. It was the least expensive medium to store data for any length of time. That’s not the case today. Disk backup, specifically StorageCraft ShadowProtect, has now replaced tape as our chosen backup and disaster recovery solution. We fought hard not to switch—you don’t end a 15-year business partnership lightly. Eventually, the technical and business reasons to switch won us over. Technically, for the small and mid-sized customers we serve, tape storage isn’t all that necessary. Our customers don’t require the huge volumes and long-term storage of large enterprises. Advances in disk technology now offer storage capacity comparable to tape, at a comparable price. Backup and restore functions are both faster with disk than tape. With tape, the backup window grows larger as the amount of customer data grows. A large backup window can hurt system performance. With disk, you can have automatic snapshots running in the background every 15 minutes—or whatever interval the customer desires. The speed of a ShadowProtect restore is what really sold us on StorageCraft. We can restore data from disk in two hours or less, but that same amount of data would take eight or more hours to restore from tape. Probably the best technical advantage of disk over tape is the ability to quickly test a backup to see if it’s good. There’s nothing worse than trying to restore from tape in a crisis, then finding out the tape is bad or the backup is corrupt. StorageCraft lets us regularly verify backup images and ensure they’re ready to restore—before we’re in a crisis situation. The business reasons to switch to disk backup boiled down to lower costs, greater efficiency, and higher customer satisfaction. The cost-to-benefit ratio really wasn’t there with tape anymore. For complete data replication, the cost of disk backup may be higher, but the output is more reliable and increases the benefit. Recovery time objectives (RTOs) for some of our customers, especially those in the finance industry, just can’t be met with tape backup. As a StorageCraft partner, we’re able to offer our customers more choices and flexibility with disk backup, including a phased approach that makes backup and disaster recovery more affordable. And, those who hate tapes finally have an alternative. Backup availability and recovery used to be our hardest challenge. Before StorageCraft, it was very costly to recover networks in a timely fashion, using our tape backup vendor’s product. We’ve never seen anything recover as fast as ShadowProtect. The backup, replication, and availability that disk backup provides is what we need—and what our customers want.

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