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Can't Quite Kick the Tape Habit

BURLINGAME, Calif. -- StoragePlus -- While tape certainly isn't winning new fans for backup these days, even shops that embrace alternate technologies admit they still have tape libraries for archiving and disaster recovery.

Users on a disaster recovery panel at StoragePlus this week agreed tape remains a necessary evil in the data center.

"I think of tape as Hamburger Helper -- it's in the closet and you hope you don't need to use it," says David Webster, manager for IT architecture and strategy at Yahoo. (See Get Users Involved, Says Yahoo Boss.) "We live without tape for the bulk of our operations. Anybody who has to rely on tape in a crisis knows what it can be like watching that tape spin while hoping the data can be restored."

Yahoo has been using Sepaton virtual tape since March 2005, yet Webster still hasn't been able to pack away his tape libraries for good. He says achieving a state of tapelessness is an ongoing journey.

"We did not go into tapeless backups overnight, and we're still not there," he says. "VTL is a step towards that, and maybe eventually we'll stop calling it VTL. Hopefully we'll forget we even had to deal with libraries in the first place."

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