Alternatives to Tape Backup

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You may ask, isn't tape an anachronism in the age of optical disks, removable hard drives and a plethora of whiz-bang, random-access storage media? In many ways it is, but because of the nature of backup it doesn't really matter that tape is slow and sequential-access. Remember, tape is cheap. Businesses use tape because they find it to be a cost-effective backup solution.

However, if you have any problems with tape backup, you'll probably be interested to know that there are several alternatives to tape.

Backup to NAS devices

NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices are attached directly to your network and can act as a backup store. Obviously, it's very convenient to backup files to NAS, as there are no disks or tapes to insert and remove. There are many NAS devices specially designed for small businesses. NAS is an excellent choice for network backup.

Backup to REV drive

In April 2004, Iomega released the REV drive -- a new storage device that has greater capacity than tape and is 5 to 8 times faster. Key features are:

* Backup to REV drive is much faster than tape backup.
* REV drive units are more durable than tape.
* While tape requires regular cleaning, no cleaning is required for REV drive units.
* Backup to REV drive may in fact prove more cost-effective for your business than tape, depending on your backup scheme and other factors.

Otherwise, REV backup is very similar to tape backup in principle.

Final notes

Several reliable backup software solutions exist. Choosing one is simply a case of deciding which is most suitable for your business. As always, invest in quality backup software. Rather than purchasing specialist REV backup software and NAS backup software, your choice in software should allow backup to numerous devices. You will then be able to change your backup hardware in the future without buying new software.

Linus Chang is a backup expert and the lead developer of BackupAssist -- backup software that is simple and affordable, and perfect for small and medium businesses. Protect your Windows servers, including SQL Server and Exchange Server, to tape, REV drive, hard drive, NAS and more, at a fraction of the cost of other backup programs. It transforms NTBackup into a script-free and simple-to-use tool.

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