Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Disk Backup's in a Crunch

Storage managers looking at disk backup as an alternative to tape could find themselves in an uphill battle against the storage establishment.

Despite a fresh crop of high-profile disasters involving lost tapes, tape replacement can still be a tough sell in many organizations (see Diskers Enjoying Tape Woes and Choice Bits). Often, installing a disk-based product means dealing with startups and making substantial changes to internal procedures.

"Massive data reduction technology is needed... What's really going on in tape replacement is that most people are just applying plain block-level storage with or without VTL [virtual tape libraries]," says Frank Slootman, CEO of Data Domain Inc. "You can put a fast cache in front of tape, but that doesn't allow you to replace tape and achieve the economics of a tape library system."

Slootman maintains that his firm and others must reduce the footprint of data. That means getting rid of old methods that go with tape backup and using alternative data compression and reduction techniques to eliminate the duplication and copying that make backups such a chore. "Why not just revisit the entire architecture that's 30 or 40 years old?" Slootman asks.

Why indeed? Slootman acknowledges that's not music to the ears of big storage vendors such as EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). "Storage companies are not fans of people bringing efficiency to the game," he asserts. "We substantially reduce the amount of spindles... and that's not popular with people who are making a living that way."

  • 1