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Tributary Systems Simplifies Backup Choices

By Glenn Garrahan, Director HPE Business, Tributary Systems

Tributary Systems


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Basically, today’s NonStop professional has three choices for their Enterprise Backup; they are simply Tape, Disk, Cloud, or perhaps some combination of the three. Like anything else, each methodology has its advantages and issues.

Tape is the oldest Enterprise Backup medium, and of course it’s the only one where the media is removable and therefore offline. This makes tape unique in that it’s protected from malware, viruses, or ransomware. Importantly, tape is also the least expensive backup methodology, on a per TB basis. But, in order to make tape viable, you must have offsite media storage, and performing a complete restore of a large database employing tape only is going to be very time consuming, and in many cases impractical given customer SLA requirements.

Disk has an over 50 year history as a backup choice. The key advantage to disk is the speed of restores. Keeping data close to “home” makes it immediately accessible, thus reducing the duration, and therefore cost, of downtime. Disk is slightly more expensive on a per TB basis than tape, but maintaining large disk farms is far more costly than warehousing tape media. In fact, Clifford Group compared the cost of tape-only and disk-only archiving solutions. Taking into account cooling and footprint, the cost of the hardware, maintenance, media… they determined that an all disk solution can be up to six times more expensive than tape.

And then there’s the Cloud. Ignoring the term “Cloud”, we’re all aware it’s really disk, tape, or a combination of both, whether on-premise or Public. On-premise Cloud installations remain under end user control; Public Clouds minimize end user procurement and management of the storage infrastructure. However, data is a company’s most significant and valuable asset, sending it to a third party raises issues of security and control. The Cloud provider ultimately has control over when data is returned and how it gets stored. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) require that Business processes handling personal data must be designed and built with consideration of the principles and provide safeguards to protect data, regardless of where backups reside.

While simply a brief overview, it clear that there are choices to be made on backup, or are there. What if a single backup target was available to a NonStop host, which through user defined policies, could take advantage of disk, tape, or Cloud backup? Well that system is Tributary System’s Storage Director, ready for deployment today.

Being a policy-based, tiered, and virtualized software solution, Storage Director can integrated with any backup methodology, grouping data into different pools and applying different protection policies at different times across any storage medium including tape, disk, and Cloud environments, thus taking advantage of the positive features of each while avoiding the pitfalls. In addition, concurrent movement of data between storage media is possible, again based on the user defined policies, without host intervention.

Connection to NonStop Servers is by Fibre Channel, and Storage Director is available in multiple configurations which include internal disk for customer data. On the “back-end”, support for industry standard tape devices, external disk arrays and on-premise or Public Cloud is provided. In fact, Tributary Systems has partnered with both IBM and Hitachi, bringing a gateway to IBM Cloud Object Storage (ICOS) and Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) to NonStop hosts.

Security is always a major concern; Storage Director incorporates AES 256-bit encryption, and fully supports erasure-coding in the ICOS storage tier. The advantage of removable media is also preserved with the support of industry standard tape connectivity.

In conclusion, for the NonStop Professional there’s no need to bias your Backup environment one way or another, customize your options with Storage Director.

As always, if you’d like additional information on Storage Director, visit, or call Matt Allen at 817-786-3066 (office) or 713-492-7434 (cell).

Storage Director allows NonStop professionals to “augment what they have and use it in creative new ways!”