The problem isn't really about backing up data, it has more to do with recovering it.
That was the word from last week's Storage Networking World conference, which show organizers said 2,500 people attended.
To address the need for faster data recovery, users said they increasingly are shifting from tape to disk. Although disk remains more expensive, the variety of disk-based systems is exploding, and prices are dropping.
Vendors introduced a host of disk-based recovery systems. Announcements included:
*EMC Corp.'s Clariion Disk Library, which enables disk-based backup and recovery but looks to back-up software as if it were tape-based. A 500G-byte DL300 system starting at US$109,000 still costs about 50 percent more than a comparable tape system - but the company says the product can back up and recover data in a fraction of the time.
* Ciena Corp.'s CN 2000 Storage Extension Platform, which speeds backup, recovery, mirroring and clustering across distances by enabling multiplexing of applications across separate physical channels within the same SONET/synchronous digital hierarchy or dense wavelength division multiplexing circuit.
* Storactive Inc.'s LiveServ for Exchange, continuous back-up software that like EMC's Disk Library, backs up data to disk.
*Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Fiber-Attached Technology Adapted drive technology, which it developed with Seagate Technology and uses disk for data backup and archiving.
According to Enterprise Storage Group (ESG), products such as these are in sync with customer needs. The firm's recent study found that 53 percent of customers in the near future plan to back up all their data to disk at some point in its life cycle.
"Seventy-five percent of those individuals will still use tape for archival purposes," says Tony Asaro, an analyst at ESG. "They will use disk for their immediate recovery needs and then put everything else to tape.
"Using disk instead of tape will give you performance increases on both backup and recovery," Asaro says. "On the recovery side, you get a lot of performance improvements just from the fact that if you need to recover a single file from a tape library, you need to physically find the tape that contains the file." Other benefits he cites are increased data integrity and the elimination of media management issues.
Lari Sue Taylor, senior vice president and director for enterprise information security and recovery at FleetBoston Financial in Boston, is a convert from tape to disk for backup and recovery. The financial firm uses a disk-based system supported by EMC's Symmetrix Remote Data Facility in adaptive copy mode that boasts recovery of business-critical systems in less than one hour and full recovery of all systems in four to eight hours.
That's a far cry from earlier tape-based systems, including a remote vaulting service. "We found that just recovering tape to disk and moving all the data we had would take a full 24 hours," she says.
JetBlue Airways Corp. uses ADIC's Pathlight VX, which includes tape and disk drives in one library, for backing up 3T bytes of data.
"One of the factors in our decision to migrate to disk from tape is real estate - we'll use three times less space than we do with tape," says Oleg Ivanov, IT systems analyst. "The others are that we'll eliminate physical and mechanical failures of the tape infrastructure, and it's absolutely faster to recover data (from disk) than from tape. . . . (We) back up twice as fast and save $1,500 on tapes a week."