7 Important Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Data Backup Tapes

7 Important Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Data Backup Tapes

Nowadays we see a guide book in the packaging of numerous consumer electronics and appliances. This is true for simple as well as the high tech devices. The reason is to facilitate the professionals and also the novices.

Hefty amount of money are spent by the companies to purchase IT hardware, which are secured by insurance. Therefore you can easily replace them. On the other hand, lost/tampered data isn’t replaceable. The least expensive and best way to save this precious information is backing up with tape system.   So you are protected against all types of disasters.

Data Backup

Otherwise the data administrators would have to do frustrating work for hours, days and even weeks, but may not recover the entire data.

As companies know the value of corporate data, they must ask few technical yet very important questions from the IT hardware suppliers. So they would get the best security and performance to fulfill their need.

Checklist while Purchasing Data Backup Tapes

1. Which tape drive should I choose from the vast range?

If we take a look at the tape solution for the small, entry level environments, there are 2 categories for backup tape system, the low & high capacity. SCSI interface helps you to connect the high-capacity tape systems. The most popular formats are Digital (Audio Tape), VXA tape, and two generations of Linear Tape Open LTO. Capacity of LTO2 is 200GB, and that of VXA3 tape and latest DAT generation (DAT-320) is 320 GB.

On the other hand, low capacity systems are connected to system with parallel port and their ownership cost is also low. These systems offer 40GB (Travan tape), 140GB (SLR tape) and 5GB (QIC tape).


In medium & large segments, widely used tape systems are next generations of LTO (LTO-3 to LTO-6), SDLT (Super Digital Linear Tape). Respective capacity of LTO6 is 6.25terabytes and SDLT2 holds 600GB data.

Compact external and internal drives offered by these smart formats can be easily accommodated in self contained enclosures and drive bays.

2. How much user-friendly is backup tape technology?

The tape systems available today are embedded with numerous software, that has remarkably simplified operations.

They also provide online help to make things easier. The intuitive graphical interface speeds up performance and allows fast navigation.

User-Friendly Backup Solution

3. How much budget must be allocated?

Price of the low capacity drives ranges from $160 to $500, and that of tape cartridges is $23 to $65. Price for the high capacity drives reaches up to $4600 and tape media is $100. Data Backup Budget

4. Which tape drive unit is best, external or internal?

It depends somewhat on your IT infrastructure, and on the customers’ personal preference. Internal tape drives cost lesser than external units. Drive bay is needed to install the internal units, whereas you would need additional power supply and enclosure for external drives. Another benefit is their portability, so more users can benefit from single external drive.

5. Which features are most important?

You don’t just rely on backing up data, but also need to quickly restore them. So make sure that your backup system offers:

  • Reliable, fast and efficient recovery procedure
  • Ability to restore complete data, directory as well as single files.
  • Automated installation.
  • Reliable unattended operations.
  • Media interoperability (available in LTO (Linear Tape Open) format). Users can backup from various systems that reduces media datasets.

6. How robust is the security of the backup system?

Scheduler functionality has been embedded in various backup tape systems that reduces human errors and automatically copies the data files. Restore functions should be tested periodically. So the users feel confident that there won’t be any disruption when you need this backup data. Make sure that the operational efficiency meets the timing criteria.

Backup System Security

WORM (write once, read many) and encryption are the two most reliable technologies that feature in tape systems. Some tape formats feature both like LTO6, LTO5. SDLT2 and LTO-3 support WORM.

7. How many tapes would be sufficient?

It depends on your company’s data flow, which includes inbound and outbound. If the datasets are transported offsite, then it would be better to store backup tapes at 2-3 secure sites.

Secondly, if your databases are increasing rapidly, then you would have to backup high volumes of data.  So, more quantity of tapes must be purchased.

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