The Pros and Cons of Disk Backup

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If your IT team is struggling to meet your backup window, you may be one of many IT departments considering a backup-to-disk solution.

Whether you are looking for increased speed or advanced automation, disk backup can offer important advantages.

But what are the pros and cons of a disk backup solution? Here are four factors to consider when to help you evaluate disk-based backup for your enterprise:

  • Disk-based backup is faster. Generally speaking, enterprises can expect to see faster backup and data retrieval speeds with a disk backup solution.
  • The speed of your disk backup solution can be affected by a host of environment factors including the hardware configuration, the speed of the network, and the software used for the backup process. While speeds can vary, disk backup speeds usually exceed that of tape and offers time advantages to help you meet your backup window.

  • Disk backup solutions are more reliable. Because a disk-based backup process uses greater levels of automation and doesn’t rely on manual processes, a backup-to-disk solution can be significantly more reliable than other backup methods.
  • Disk systems provide an opportunity for SAN administrators to set up their backup system to create a consistent and dependable backup solution. Disk storage is not perfect, of course. The opportunity for destructive human error (which could occur – please see 4 Things Pixar Should Have Asked about Disaster Recovery) and disk failures are present, but the redundancy of RAID arrays provide protection that other backup mediums cannot.

  • Disk-based backup is more expensive. While disk drive prices have fallen in recent years, disk storage is roughly 23% more expensive than tape backup for long term use. The initial cost and ongoing maintenance costs can often make disk backup a cost-prohibitive option when compared to tape storage solutions.
  • While an all-disk backup system can cost up to 29 times more than an all-tape solution, the cost of a disk-based backup solution can be significantly reduced when an enterprise choses to deploy used or legacy disk storage hardware for the backup target.*

  • A disk backup solution is not easily transported. While some storage mediums, specifically tape, are ideal for moving from one location to another, disk storage is not quite as portable. While units for removing and transporting disk drives do exist, they are still not as durable as a tape backup solution. This can be a significant drawback if moving your backup data to a remote site for safe keeping is in any of your future plans.

Discovering that a disk-based backup solution isn’t right for your enterprise? Tape backup can provide cost-effective, dependable backup solutions without exceeding your backup buget. Want to learn more? Click here to discover the benefits of tape backup.

*Data from Iron Mountain, January 9, 2012


Photo Credit: Parker Miles Blohm, Flickr. CC License.


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