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Affordable Tape Automation – key to eliminating business risk through reliable disaster recovery

  • 17 June, 2009 12:06

<p>By Carl Waadeland, Product Manager, Tandberg Data</p>
<p>Ninety per cent of all companies that experience data loss in an IT disaster go out of business within two years, according to industry sources. About 50 per cent never reopen their doors, so the impact of disaster is usually severe.</p>
<p>Another driver for reliable backup and recovery is compliance, as corporate misbehaviour has led to governments requiring the protection and retention of detailed business records.</p>
<p>Yet Gartner Group has reported that 40 to 50 per cent of all backups are not recoverable in full, and that 60 per cent fail in general. Even in large enterprise data centres, nearly a quarter of respondents report that 20 per cent or more of their tape-based recoveries fail.</p>
<p>Second to misconfiguration of backup software, the major cause of backup failure is human error. The shuttling of tapes in and out of a backup tape drive is frequently delegated to employees without professional training, who perform the task as a low priority.</p>
<p>Eliminating the daily insertion and removal of backup tapes by implementing robotic tape automation systems is key to eliminating the risk of human error. Yet these systems are uncommon in small to medium-sized businesses. A Tandberg Data survey reveals that 70 per cent of SMBs recognise the need for tape automation but forgo implementation because it is too expensive.</p>
<p>Human intervention compromises backup reliability. An operator handles tapes 20 times in ten individual sessions over a two-week period. Each time, one of the following may occur:</p>
<p>1) The proper tape is inserted, and the ejected tape is correctly filed.
2) The proper tape is inserted, and the ejected tape is mis-filed, impacting future backup or restore operations.
3) The wrong tape is inserted, preventing the current day’s backup from occurring. In the worst case, the backup software is configured to write over existing data on the tape.
4) The employee is absent or neglects to change the tape, preventing the current day’s backup from occurring.
5) The tape drive detects a mechanical anomaly while mounting the newly inserted tape, and ejects. A stand-alone tape drive unit cannot reinsert and retry the tape without operator intervention.</p>
<p>The backup process is generally reliable for a month or two. But the task of swapping tapes loses its aura of importance, particularly as months pass without the need to restore data. It may take months or years before a problem is revealed, often at the worst possible moment.</p>
<p>Labour costs of the manual backup process seem deceptively minimal yet accumulate significantly over time. In the best case, adding a tape interchange task to an employee’s workload results in a disruption of at least 15 minutes a day, the equivalent of over one working week each year. Any media or tape loading error requires additional hours per event to recover, often outside normal business hours.</p>
<p>The inadequacy of the manual backup process led to the introduction of the autoloader - a compact storage device that contains a tape drive, tape cartridge slots, and a robotic mechanism that moves tapes between the slots and the tape drive. Typically it contains only a single tape drive and a few cartridge slots. Controlled by backup software, autoloaders enable backup routines to run automatically while simplifying data restoration through minimum user intervention.</p>
<p>With eight cartridge slots and a single tape-loading operation, the autoloader ensures backup retention of up to three weeks. By reducing the frequency of human involvement from daily to weekly, the autoloader eliminates opportunity for human error or neglect by 80 per cent. It also simplifies most restoration operations caused by the loss or deletion of recent files.</p>
<p>The daily manual exchange of backup tapes demands a minimum 15-minute interruption of an employee’s primary duties, amounting to 65 hours of lost productivity a year. By reducing this workload to only 15 minutes a week, or 13 hours a year, tape automation annually adds 52 hours of employee time. An autoloader solution costing under $US3,000 will pay for itself in less than two years.</p>
<p>Most autoloaders targeted at SMBs are based on a magazine mechanism that selects from a stack of tapes, which the magazine contains. Tandberg Data’s StorageLoader LTO contains two 4-slot removable magazines storing a total of eight data cartridges. It is available with a choice of LTO-2, LTO-3 and LTO-4 Half-Height drives offering compressed storage capacities up to 12.8TB, transfer rates up to 576GB/hr and is available with LVD SCSI or SAS connectivity.</p>
<p>By reducing human involvement by 85-90 per cent, an autoloader increases reliability while eliminating the daily, error prone, and often neglected task of tape-swapping. Autoloaders offer businesses of all sizes an economically attainable solution that reduces the probability of human error and improves overall backup efficiency and reliability.</p>
<p>About Tandberg Data</p>
<p>Tandberg Data is a leading global supplier of data protection technologies. Tandberg Data offers of a complete range of tape libraries, tape autoloaders and tape drives (based on the LTO™, SLR™, and VXA® tape technology platforms), storage software, data media and disk-based storage such as the RDX® QuikStor™. These solutions are marketed exclusively through a channel of qualified resellers and distributors.</p>
<p>These solutions are underpinned by OEM agreements with major server manufacturers including IBM, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Apple, and Dell and supported by all major operating systems and storage software applications to operate in heterogeneous network environments. All solutions are designed to meet the growing storage requirements of small and medium-sized organisations with scalability, reliability, and backward compatibility features that ensure cost effective operation and long-term investment protection.</p>
<p>In addition to corporate offices in Oslo, Norway, TANDBERG DATA ASA has subsidiaries in the USA, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and Singapore, as well as branch offices in Italy, and China (PRC) and Brazil. TANDBERG DATA ASA is a publicly held company based in Oslo, Norway and is traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker=TAD).</p>
<p>TD Asia is headquartered in Singapore, with centralised Sales, Marketing, Finance, Administration, Logistics, Technical and a state-of-the-art Service and Repair Centre to cater for consumer needs worldwide.</p>
<p>APAC address:
7 Tai Seng Drive, #02-00 Singapore 535218
Tel: +65 6396 0786
Fax: +65 6396 0787</p>
<p>For further information, please visit</p>
<p>RDX QuikStor and SLR are trademarks of Tandberg Data ASA. VXA is a registered trademark of Tandberg Data ASA. RDX is a registered trademark of ProStor Systems, Inc. LTO is a trademark of HP, IBM and Quantum. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.</p>
<p>For more information</p>
<p>David Frost, PR Deadlines Pty Ltd
+612-4341 5021 or 4341 5021</p>
<p>Mr Lim Cheng Chuan, Country Manager (Australia &amp; New Zealand)
Mobile: +61(0)-404 135 813
<p>Huang Yanyi, Tandberg Data (Asia) Pte Ltd
+65-6396 0786 or mobile +65-9232 9966.</p>

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