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Tape backup still popular in SA

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Despite rapid advances in data storage solutions, like disk backup, using tape for backup is still a popular solution among many organisations in SA.

This is according to the findings of the ITWeb-Dell Storage Survey, which ran online for a fortnight, attracting 154 respondents.

The majority of respondents (46.82%) revealed that they are still reliant on tape for backup purposes, while 42.2% do not use this solution, and 10.92% were unsure.

Kobus De Beer, enterprise marketing manager at Dell SA, says there is still a huge debate in the storage industry on whether organisations should continue using tape for backup.

Tape backup remains popular; however, depending on the volume of data that is being sent to a device, it could influence the time needed to backup information or recover from disaster, he says. “We have seen vendors like Dell releasing backup to disk appliances because it is quicker to do backup and restore from disk, and disk capacities continue to increase.”

He argues that disk backup appliances also take advantage of technologies like deduplication where organisations can remove all duplicate data from their backups. “This means you have less data to worry about. Organisations are starting to use disk for backup more and tape for archiving if they need a copy offsite.”

Among a plethora of backup software solutions available on the market, the majority of organisations (28.9%) use Symantec BE and Netbackup. IBM Tivoli came in at 12.72%, followed by HP Data Protector (11.56%) and EMC Networker (9.83%), among others.

Why partner?

It also emerged from the survey that most organisations (58.96%) do not have storage partners. Only 32.37% have partners, while 8.67% were unsure.

Commenting on this finding, De Beer says many enterprise organisations would have their own IT/support department that would manage their whole infrastructure. He adds that larger organisations also choose to manage the infrastructure themselves to possibly minimise risk and have complete ownership.

The survey also discovered that the majority of the respondents (56.95%) are using storage area network (SAN) technology, although 23.7% do not. The most popular SAN technology among organisations is fibre channel, selected by 63.27% of respondents. iSCSI and FCOE followed at 43.88% and 6.12%, respectively.

De Beer points out that storage vendors have been pushing organisations of all sizes to start using SAN technology. “The main reason for this is for all the enterprise benefits they would get from SAN technology. This includes storage consolidation, where they consolidate silos of storage into one device that makes it easier to manage. SAN technology also offers users a lot more flexibility, more effective disaster recovery and also replication, to name a few.”

Disaster preparedness

On a positive note, most organisations (75.14%) expressed confidence that they could easily recover from a disaster. Only 13.87% did not think they could. The study also ascertained that most companies (72.83%) have archiving strategies in place, while 19.08% do not, with the remainder unsure.

In order to improve recovery chances from an IT disaster, the majority of organisations (79.17%) believe boosting policies and procedures like backup and recovery can make a difference.

Depending on the industry they are in, says De Beer, organisations need to show and prove that they can recover.

“This is all part of risk assessments for auditing, and at times they do disaster recovery tests monthly in extreme cases. Technology has also enabled them to make this process a lot simpler and at times not as costly to do as it was in the past. Disaster recovery needs to be part of every efficient IT strategy.”

Over the past 12 months, more than half (54.17%) of the respondents increased their spend on storage. Most of them (80.22%) say they upped spend after improving their storage strategies.

De Beer stresses that organisations have no choice but to invest in efficient storage infrastructure.

“The analysts are estimating that the digital universe will double every two years from now on. There are huge amounts of data that organisations need to manage. The local storage market growth has been healthy in the last couple of years, and we can expect this trend to continue in the future based on the amount of data that is being created.”

However, he says it is important that organisations look at investing in storage that will give them the best return on investment.

“The days of just adding more hard drives to their environment will just create more data problems for them; they need to look at what innovations vendors bring to market to bring down acquisition and maintenance costs,” he concludes.

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