HP RDX Video - Could HP RDX Disk based backup be right for your business

RDX as a Replacement for Optical Disks

Optical disk storage is becoming obsolete.

Historically, optical has had a place at the data storage table because it was the format that met the regulatory requirements of immutability and longevity. Certain documents needed to be stored in WORM data formats and be viable for decades. Optical has provided this data archive capability in the document imaging space for years and its cartridge form-factor enabled it to be carried off-site easily, providing a solution for DR as well. But things have changed.


Optical has never enjoyed the data density that magnetic storage does, so in order to keep increasing media capacity, new formats were continually developed. This required a migration of data from the old to the new format, or keeping the old technology drives to play legacy media. But migration was expensive, both in upfront costs and disruption and keeping old hardware around was also problematic, especially when it wasn’t being manufactured anymore.

WORM can now also be done in software by technologies like Content Addressable Storage (CAS) which uses traditional disk arrays and off-site replication to replace physically shipping media to a DR site. But for the users who developed processes around optical disk cartridges, the pure ‘online’ aspect of CAS disk storage and replication can be a significant change in workflow. For many, physically handling storage media is just simpler and more flexible. Also, these newer technologies can involve large investments that are hard to justify by much of the optical disk user base. For many, RDX could be the answer.


RDX is WORM and encryption capable, satisfying the regulatory requirements that drove users to optical disks for years. But it does much more. As a hard disk technology, RDX enjoys the data density that optical users could only dream about. At over a TB per drive, companies often need only a few pieces of media to hold all their data - greatly simplifying storage, handling and off-site transfer. Scaling to meet data growth is also easier. And since the drive upgrades occur inside the cartridge, the interface to the RDX dock remains constant as capacities increase, so users won’t face the format changes or data migration issues they did with optical disk drives.

Use cases for optical in document imaging applications typically involve small to medium sized enterprises and RDX as a removable cartridge media format fits the workflows that these companies have established. This workflow process includes the flexibility to direct attach storage devices to PCs or servers in distributed locations, storing media locally on shelves and often sending media off-site for DR in a briefcase or in Iron Mountain’s truck. As a ‘plug replacement’ for their existing optical drive or library, RDX enables an easy switch from this obsolescent format. While they are alternatives for providing data archive, DR and immutability, Content Addressed Storage and replication devices can do the job, but at a much higher acquisition cost and a significant integration effort.

As network attached storage, RDX libraries can provide a disk target for backup applications as well as an archive for document imaging. This means the same device can be used to replace the optical disk storing documents and the tape library storing backups. In addition to being the logical successor to optical disk storage, RDX can can consolidate the infrastructure, improve the performance of both backup and archive operations and save money in the process.