Better make sure your tape drive is under warranty, too, as they don’t seem to last very long anymore. That expensive tape drive seems to fail as frequently as an HP DeskJet printer. It’s almost a consumable now, much like the tapes and backup cartridges themselves. You can buy the most expensive backup cartridges available, and you’re lucky to get a few hundred hours of backup time before they start spitting errors and lost CRC sectors. I’m sure all the backup engineers have lots of reasons why backup cartridges fail so often, but it still doesn’t solve the problem.
I know I’m in a ranting mood again this week (I love having my own column), but this is 20 years of frustration coming out. Show me a person without backup problems and I’ll show you someone who either a) doesn’t know they really do have problems, b) finally solved all their problems after months of troubleshooting and now baby-sits their backup solution like a newborn child, or c) has an expensive solution and dedicated staff.
Many readers have already bought newer solutions that don’t involve tapes. These solutions are expensive. But they are fast, and they work more reliably. And I guess that is the ultimate lesson: You get what you pay for.
Still, I wish data backup for the masses was easier and more reliable. And if you haven’t done a test restore in awhile, make time for it in your business schedule. It can head off a lot of pain later on.
Read more about storage in InfoWorld's Storage Channel.