Previously, Storage Switzerland blogged about the merits of employing a tape storage hierarchy to cut backup storage costs. Tape media can furthermore add value as a tier in the broader disaster recovery strategy, as well.
As Lead Analyst George Crump overviewed in a recent video, applications are not all created equal when it comes to recovery time objectives (RTOs, the amount of time that it takes to get an application back up and running following an outage). The most business critical, Tier 1 applications must get back up and running nearly instantaneously. Tier 2 and 3 applications have greater leniency, with RTOs of approximately four and eight hours, respectively. Finally, there is also an underlying store of file and unstructured data that for the most part has still longer RTOs.
While Tier One applications are the most urgent to restore, they also only account for approximately 10% or less of the data that a typical enterprise is backing up. This leaves an opportunity to serve a large majority of recovery data with tape storage arrays, which are lower-priced than disk-based alternatives (and can even be more cost-effective than cloud storage services).
Tape storage can easily meet four-to-eight-hour RTOs that are common with Tier 3 applications and the majority of file and unstructured data. This creates the opportunity to dramatically reduce the volume of comparatively more expensive disk backup capacity required by as much as 80%. Further cost savings are generated by the greater cooling and power efficiencies of tape media (which only uses power when it is writing), as well as by the reduced networking costs resulting from transmitting less data between backup and production disk-based systems. As an additional value, hosting a copy of data on genetically diverse production disk and backup tape media enhances protection from malware.