Recently there’s been a great thread over at Spiceworks concerning Unitrends and tape.  When I say “great thread”, I don’t mean that the folks over there are saying that Unitrends is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Actually – far from it.  The title of the thread is “Unitrends and Tape Archives (headaches.)”  I’ve been so busy that I simply missed the thread – and our resident Spiceworks forums guru Katie Drucker didn’t tell me about it soon enough because obviously I’ve irritated her once too often. 🙂

All joking aside, what Tobyhe calls  out on this thread is that Unitrends doesn’t support bar codes.  That makes it tough in his environment to auditing and recalling tapes.  He’s right.  It’s something we recognize that we need to do – and it’s currently under development and schedule to beta and be released in Q2-2013 (best estimate beta in May or early June, committed generally released in late June.)  Anyone who is a current or future customer that wants to be included in the beta, please contact us at

There is something that was said later in the thread that I wanted to directly address – it was stated in a conversation among a few Spiceworks members.  It was noted that Unitrends prefers disk archiving over tape archiving.

This isn’t our intent.  To put it simply, we aspire to be like Olympic gymnasts – we want to be flexible.

Unitrends uses an architecture called D2D2X – Disk-to-Disk-to-Any – and the reason I call this out is that we attempt to address buyers who want their data protection solution to adapt to their environment rather than adapting their environment to their data protection solution.  So we don’t say “You need to only use Windows” or “You need to be 100% virtualized” or “You have to replicate to a private or public cloud for protection” – instead we have a pretty interesting architecture we’ve termed “Simply Scalable(TM)” that enables us to adapt and scale to all sorts of customer environments.

With respect to archiving, that means we support removeable disk, tape, and fixed NAS and SAN as well as supporting private and public replication to the cloud.  Tape is typically termed D2D2T (as opposed to disk, which is termed D2D2D) – and we have many incredibly valued customers who are using tape.

The fact that we don’t offer bar code support for tape until May/June of 2013 is simply a matter of prioritization.  Is it something we should have?  Absolutely.  And we’re working hard as we speak to add this (and many, many more features.)

Thanks to everyone who is our customer – and thanks to everyone who is considering our Unified Data Protection™ solution.  And if anyone thinks I’m missing anything here, I (and Katie!) would love to hear from you.


  1. Thanks for this information. As we just started looking into your solutions, this thread was pretty interesting for me, as we don’t have a tape library yet, but with getting a new backup solution, we still want tape to be part of it. So it’s not an old investment we want to keep, but it should be a new one. Correct me if I am wrong by choosing tapes.

    I was long time against using tapes, but kind of got convinced when having troubles with disks and controllers and the risk of loosing a lot of versions of data. For us the world would keep turning, but still it wouldn’t be good to loose them as emergencies always happen when they shouldn’t.

    After having replaced “all” harddrives, 12 in this SAN Like Box, as all started to failing within a 2 months period, we had luck, no dataloss at all. But this was luck.

    We do have a 2nd backup solution as I kind of never trust one alone, a really low budget one (Open Source on Linux – that does file system level backups and some kind of file level dedup, I think the box is running for 10 years now). No fancy features, no VM, Baremetal, VSS or anykind, just a backup of files that you must not loose ever, kind of off site in another building we have direct wires too. Am I too paranoid?

    And this made me think, fast accessible data using d2d is good. I love all the features I read your boxes do have. But what if all this fails, do I need now a failover of my backup, or backup of my backup.

    Or rather just have an extra archive on tapes, where I could keep versions back to 6 months, 1 year, no matter, as it’s just the number of tapes you purchase instead of extending the disks again and again as data grows.

    With the side effect, we sometimes have to archive big data, that we now have on mirrored harddrives, while with tape, we just place it there and most probably never need it again, but if, we have it.

    The good thing is, we can take care in getting a tape library that is most likely compatible with your solution, but still… also makes us think to wait until the feature is out (which we didn’t want to), as good tape management will be something our new solution needs to meet.


  2. Patrick: Thanks tremendously for your comments – some really good insight here. One thing I’d urge you to do if you need bar coding is to go ahead and sign up for beta for the feature – it’s coming in the next month or two and that way you can go ahead and get a jump on moving on this.

    Again – thanks tremendously for taking the time to write.

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