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Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)

When planning a backup infrastructure, IT administrators must decide between tape, no tape, virtual tape, or a combination. Fortunately, they have more options that ever.

But more choices mean more planning decisions, and there's no single correct way to go tape-free.

Two case studies show two different approaches. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) last year eliminated tape from backup in 22 data centers spread across 14 countries without the help of VTL, CDP, or data de-duplication. (See DCMA Picks CommVault.) Around the same time, Interstate Hotels & Resorts saved money and improved backups with VTL while reducing -- but not eliminating -- its number of tape libraries. (See Sepaton Goes Standard on VTL .)

DCMA: DCMA, which is the contract manager for the U.S. Department of Defense, has about 384 Tbytes of storage on NetApp FAS3020 and FAS6070 systems. DCMA chief of network design Peter Amstutz calls eliminating tape a monumental task,” but not an insurmountable one. "We are now 100 percent tape free," he says.

Amstutz considered VTL but estimates he saved around $250,000 by bypassing it because of his company's setup. "We compared the cost of virtual tape to going direct to disk," he says. "It looked like going direct to disk was less expensive in the long run. We didn't want to carry the baggage, nor did we have our Unix environment tied to tape. We saw virtual tape as a bridging technology, and it didn't look like it would fit for us. We had the luxury of starting from scratch."

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