Offline Storage Info - InfoStor Magazine

Welcome to InfoStor online. If you're looking for offline storage info, here are a few tips to get you started. When you think of offline storage, you should think of data that has been physically removed from the network. This type of offline storage takes the form of backup tapes that companies ship in trucks off to sites miles or even time zones away. Anyone searching for offline storage info should explore tape technology, new removable hard drives, and encryption strategies to keep the data safe.

Backing up to tape is one part of a data migration plan (view articles). Most data is created online and then as it ages or becomes less important to the company, many companies migrate the data to less expensive storage media like tape. For small companies, the backup tapes are shipped elsewhere, but larger companies might employ tape autoloaders or libraries so that the data can still be accessed in a reasonably short amount of time. When the tapes contain replicas of online data, or it simply needs to be kept for archive purposes, it is often shipped offsite and offline as part of the company's data migration plan.

When companies back up to tape, the data is nearly always offline (and inaccessible) to applications. Despite the clear trend toward online storage (for example disk-to-disk backup), tape is still the primary backup/recovery medium. For more offline storage info regarding tape trends, see the InfoStor article, "Best of breed vs. trusted brand."

Many people who search for offline storage info (view articles) want to weigh the risks and benefits of choosing either offline storage or online storage. The results of one survey might surprise you. Offline storage can be very vulnerable to outside attacks. Check out this article: "Survey reveals lack of data security."

Encryption is one method available for keeping tapes safe (view articles). Some people think encryption is all they have to do to keep their storage environments safe. In fact, one data protection company, evangelizes the importance of tape encryption. But encryption might not be enough. To read more about encryption, see "Tape encryption not a security cure-all."

Offline storage meant exclusively tapes on shelves or carted off to vaults. Companies like tape because it's removable, relatively cheap, and has a long shelf life for archival. But many companies would like to see those same attributes apply to disk, and now they can. A recent InfoStor article explains the potential for disk-based offline storage (see "Removable disk cartridges aimed at tape").

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