By Andy Feather
I often hear from customers that are sitting on scores of legacy tapes with unknown contents beyond a generic “business data” level, and 99+ percent of them are not known at a granular level. As we all know too well, disaster recovery backups morphed into unintentional data archiving these past 10 – 15 years thanks to litigation and government regulatory investigations, along with general business obligations to retain certain records. The duty to preserve has forced businesses to preserve backup tapes if at least one file on the tape might be under some form of preservation obligation. The IT staff almost never has the equipment or human resources to perform targeted restores of data under preservation and stack it together with other similar data, so they take the easy way out: buy more tape and retain existing tapes vs. overwriting their contents. Companies change backup software providers and migrate to newer backup platforms and get stuck paying maintenance and support for software and hardware they no longer use, but might one day.