For years the cornerstone of the Arcserve product family has been Arcserve Backup with its strong tape backup and archiving capabilities. Increasingly, however, we hear from customers that they are investigating how to maximize resource efficiencies through end-to-end workflow automation and gradually over time these discussions have transitioned from questions about our tape capabilities to “So what are you doing for cloud services like Amazon EC2, S3, Glacier and Microsoft Azure?”

A simple search of the web results in numerous articles and posts asking the question “Is tape dead?” From a pure cost per gigabyte perspective tape still makes good financial sense. It also continues to make sense from a hardware investment perspective. However, the critical question some users are beginning to ask is what happens when those existing tape drives and libraries begin to break down. Repair, replace, or invest in something new with lower overhead costs and easier workflow automation.

The Cloud Storage pricing wars and the impression that prices will continue to fall has injected a considerable debate into the industry and one that Data Management Executives and MSPs will no doubt continue to deliberate with increasing urgency.

Clearly tape is not dead. And just as clearly Cloud as a widespread alternative has yet to fully mature but the question still remains: Should businesses invest in a tried and true technology like tape that requires physical infrastructure (floor space, cooling, power supply, and human interaction) or embrace the brave new world of cloud storage services which means trusting their valuable data to offsite DR services that they do not own and on whom they must rely for data integrity, accessibility, and longevity?

Several backup administrators and MSP owners that I’ve talked to recently are at least experimenting with moving a portion of their DR and long term archival data into cloud storage as they continue to use tape for the majority of their data management needs. It’s a metaphorical dipping of the toe in the cloud storage waters of and from what we’re hearing it’s working. The cost of cloud is still seen as a bit too high for every type of data but the savings realized by reducing the need for human interaction, physical infrastructure, and offsite storage are slowing reaching a compelling equilibrium.

The energy and momentum in the data management industry is pointing to slow but steady evolution of offsite DR storage as businesses continue to move at least a portion of their data to cloud storage.  Tape is not dead but this trend offers some unique challenges both for backup administrators and solutions providers as environments are actually becoming more complex, not less, as businesses simultaneously search for ways to maximize efficiencies and reduce cost.

Arcserve is addressing this increased complexity head-on with a firm commitment to developing hybrid data protection solutions that enable users to take advantage of automated workflows via Plans and Tasks. The addition of workflow automation with Arcserve Unified Data Protection provides users the ability to define data management strategies that include on-premise, off-premise, tape, and cloud technologies from a single product and a single interface.  Adding an end-to-end workflow capability to a backup and recovery solution was viewed in the beginning by some as a radical departure from what the typical backup admin was used to but since releasing Arcserve UDP the positive feedback has been incredible. And we’re not done. Building on the foundation that was created with the initial release of Arcserve UDP we will continue to invest in tighter tape integration with an eye towards providing customers with a holistic end-to-end workflow automation capability that includes tape archive making Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape a reality. In addition, with the Recovery Point Server we added a true cloud-enabled offsite DR solution with source side de-duplication and remote data seeding to help those users wanting to make the move to offsite cloud storage. We will continue to build upon that capability as we extend our services into RPS physical appliances and better capabilities around server virtualization in the cloud.