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Recent Sales Hint That Tape For Storage Is Far From Dead

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  • Not news. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:50PM (#32528830) Journal

    What else is there? It's not like you can back up to a SAN, and then stick the SAN in a courier bag and send it to remote storage. Optical? Too small. The magical "cloud" doesn't stack up well for security compared to a physical safe. Flash is promising, but still not there in terms of reliablity.

    When they come up with a compact, reliable, portable storage medium I'll be the first one to toss tapes out the window. The idea of running backups to some credit-card sized SD cards is appealing.

    • I know! When did tapes lose its speed?

    • Re:Not news. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:55PM (#32528890)

      You could not be more correct. It also needs to be as fast as LTO-5 or LTO-6 when that ships. That means 140MB/s or 270MB/s, and at least close to it for long periods of time. Those cheap SATA discs the kids keep suggesting don't come anywhere near that.

      • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:13PM (#32529124)

        Modern cheap SATA drives have average linear read and write speeds of around 120 MB/s.

        • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:14PM (#32529134)

          Please name a disk that can keep it up for the whole disk. This will be 1TB+ of random data written in 1 shot.

          I have not seen any yet, but would love to find one.

          • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by afidel (530433) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:22PM (#32529216)
            Dude, my biggest problem is keeping the damn LTO4 drives fed at MINIMUM write speeds for file server type small file workloads. 72x15k spindles isn't enough with only one volume being backed up, metadata retrieval makes it too slow, I need to have multiple volumes backing up simultaneously to keep the things from shoeshining.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Just Some Guy (3352)

              Amanda works by backing up filesystems to dump files on the backup server, then writing those dump files all in one go. It might take an ancient system an hour to spool its dump to the backup server, but the tape doesn't have to worry about that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by BikeHelmet (1437881)

              Dude, my biggest problem is keeping the damn LTO4 drives fed at MINIMUM write speeds for file server type small file workloads. 72x15k spindles isn't enough with only one volume being backed up, metadata retrieval makes it too slow, I need to have multiple volumes backing up simultaneously to keep the things from shoeshining.

              I've never done tape backups, but isn't that an issue with your OS? Maybe it's trying to compress data/files to save space?

              With a linux LiveCD, you could probably dump a partition onto tape as quickly as you could read it from the raw device. It doesn't need to read the files individually, or understand the filesystem at all - it's all just data being read sequentially off HDD and being stored sequentially on the tape.

              • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Friday June 11, 2010 @03:05AM (#32532470)

                That's not much use if you want to be able to restore the individual files from the backup, which is nearly always desirable.

                Disaster-recovery-only backups are okay, but if you're spending the money to archive your data you normally want a bit more flexibility.

                Additionally there's the obvious problem of taking the server offline while you do the backup...

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by BobMcD (601576)

                  That's not much use if you want to be able to restore the individual files from the backup, which is nearly always desirable.

                  Disaster-recovery-only backups are okay, but if you're spending the money to archive your data you normally want a bit more flexibility.

                  Additionally there's the obvious problem of taking the server offline while you do the backup...

                  If you're pulling individual files off of tape, you're probably doing it wrong.

                  Backup across the network, to disk, first. You can build or buy a wide variety of arrays to do this for less than your tape drive costs, on average. Go large and rotate the storage mount points. We keep five days 'on line', and overwrite by schedule.

                  Write THAT data to tape, to be sent offsite.

                  On the upside, you can get any file from the last five days in less than an hour, without leaving your desk. More like fifteen minutes,

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            If it's really important to you ... make a lot of partitions, RAID0 the lot of them ... hey presto, a volume which will maintain average linear read and write speed across the entire volume.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              I fail to see how making partitions on one real device will do anything other than lower that average speed. If you meant multiple physical volumes in RAID0 then I ask the following:

              And how do I get this volume off to the storage location?
              Will the OEM say it is safe for transport?

              Is it light enough for our female sysadmin to carry it?

              Face it, disks are just not there yet.

              • It's about hitting the disk in alternating sections. If you use large stripes (say 16 MB) and a bit of buffering (not a problem with linear access) you will only lose a little speed from the extra seeks. The average throughput however stays the same ... which seems important to you.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Culture20 (968837)

                I fail to see how making partitions on one real device will do anything other than lower that average speed.

                You are correct, it will lower the speed, but I believe GP is correct that it will bring most data points closer to that slower average.

                If you meant multiple physical volumes in RAID0 then I ask the following:
                And how do I get this volume off to the storage location?
                Will the OEM say it is safe for transport?
                Is it light enough for our female sysadmin to carry it?

                1) Quantum Teleportation? Maybe a truck and packing foam if your teleporter is down.
                2) Who cares what the OEM says? Are you planning to sue a tape manufacturer when a tape goes bad? Good luck proving it was the transport that did it.
                3) Unless she's an invalid. Anyone who can lift a HDD can transport a disk array.

                I say if JBOD backup with multiple copies is good enou

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Hognoxious (631665)

                Is it light enough for our female sysadmin to carry it?

                Does it weigh less than 20 pairs of shoes (including retail packaging) and ten boxes of chocolates?

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              More importantly this solution is now more expensive and more cumbersome than the tapes were to begin with.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by turing_m (1030530)

            Please name a disk that can keep it up for the whole disk.

            http://hothardware.com/Articles/Definitive-2TB-Hard-Drive-Roundup/?page=7 [hothardware.com]

            You appear to be right. The best write average is about 100MB/s. It's the reads that are near 120.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tibit (1762298)

              100MB/s is plenty. Consider the cost of the whole deal: interface card, drive, cleaning tape, aggravation of having to switch tapes/run cleaning job, and so on. Three external USB 2.0 drives beat that speed, and cost a whopping $420 at Walmart, of all places. You can go and buy them in the middle of the night if need be. Just plug them into the motherboard USB connectors, no recent enough system will have any problems keeping them all going full tilt. The drives will likely last 3 years of constant use. Now

              • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Informative)

                by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Friday June 11, 2010 @03:17AM (#32532512)

                Points in favour of tapes:

                - most backup software is designed to deal with tape libraries, not so much with shuffling B2D media around

                - most archive companies are built around storing tapes; though I suspect there are ones which could deal with hard disks in external caddies

                - tapes deal with stress from being transported continuously better than mechanical drives (also wear and tear of plugging and unplugging the interfaces all the time)

                - I think unused tapes age better than unused hard disks, but I've nothing to back that up

                Bandwidth to the tape drive itself rarely seems to be an issue for actual backups, since network and file I/O latency seem to be more significant issues. We never get anywhere near the maximum speed out of our LTO-4 drive, even when we're just duplicating data from the local array to the tape.

              • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by jimicus (737525) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:14AM (#32532988)

                I actually re-read this post several times because I wasn't too keen on the tone. I'm not having a go at you, but I was running the numbers myself on a spreadsheet only about a month ago and was expecting similar results to what you suggest.

                I was totally wrong. Right now, for any non-trivial quantity of data which is expanding at any non-trivial rate, LTO4 is the most cost-effective solution. (Actually, the most cost-effective solution is probably an LTO-5 drive but use LTO-4 tapes until the LTO-5 tapes come down a bit in price).

                100MB/s is plenty. Consider the cost of the whole deal: interface card, drive, cleaning tape, aggravation of having to switch tapes/run cleaning job, and so on. Three external USB 2.0 drives beat that speed, and cost a whopping $420 at Walmart, of all places.

                Please explain to me how you maintain 100MB/s write speed on a bus which can - on a good day - manage just under half of that. And usually manages more like about a third.

                Assumptions:
                - the tape has a lifetime of 300 passes, capacity of 1.5TB and $100 cost

                Or you could buy LTO4 tapes which will write just fine in an LTO5 drive and right now are quite a bit cheaper per gigabyte.

                - the drive lasts 3 years and costs $2000 (given my experience with LTO, that's optimistic)

                Are you not getting a 3 year warranty on your drive?

                Assuming that nothing gets any cheaper over time,

                Really? I'm buying LTO3 tapes for about a third what I was paying a couple of years ago.

                With my luck, half of the tapes had errors after one year, and that was on a lower density tape (VS160).

                Seriously, if half your tapes have errors after just one year, there is something seriously wrong. I don't know if it's power, environmental factors, cheap tapes or what but there is no way you should see a failure rate that high.

                For LTO, I'd think that you'd want the backup will be written, then verified, and then any data that had errors will be written again. So the number of passes available from the tape's life shrinks by half to 150.

                You are aware that the LTO specifications include automatic verification as part of the writing process? You generally can't turn this off.

                150 passes lets you use one tape to store and verify a total of 225 TB of data over its lifetime.

                Splitting hairs, but LTO writes a full tape in several passes. A tape will last several thousand passes, but probably only about ~150-200 complete fills.

                Pictures explain this far more clearly than text at http://www.lto.org/technology/primer2.html [lto.org]

                How does that stack up to the hard drive? A USB 2 hard drive will transfer 3.9 TB per day,

                Unless your users will put up with the performance hit that comes from taking backups during the working day, it doesn't really matter how much you can transfer per day. What matters is how much you can transfer during your backup window.

                Now knowing that tape prices don't really drop much with time,

                Which is wrong.

                With USB or eSata HDs, the interface costs are essentially nil, and most any current server comes with enough connectors to plug in several external drives at once, and the chipset is fast enough to keep them saturated if your source storage allows. You won't really be throwing multiple $2k tape drives at a bandwidth problem, but with USB or eSATA HD, the bandwidth comes essentially for free: as long as you have enough drives, each drive adds to the bandwidth.

                Not true, you'll be limited by the bus speed very quickly indeed. Just because your system has 8 USB ports does not mean you can expect to see 8x480Mbps when you've got 8 hard disks plugged in.

                With tapes,

        • Modern cheap sata drives are nowhere near as robust, and are around twice the price. LTO4 tapes hold 800GB native, cost around $30, and are very easy to swap.
    • Weight and volume wise HDs are in the same region as tapes, so yeah ... it would be perfectly possible to design a HD carrier to which you could backup over SAN and then move to remote "storage" (data needs to be kept alive, so the remote storage would need to be a MAID system).

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        This does not solve the other issues, but is a neat idea.

      • Re:Not news. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:08PM (#32529060) Homepage Journal

        I (and many others) don't trust hard drives _at_all_ - let alone when you move them. This is learned behavior...

        • Re:Not news. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:19PM (#32529194) Journal

          Yep yep. Too many moving parts. You can drop a tape, and 999 times out of 1000 it'll be fine. Hard drives? Hell, it could die of vibration damage in transit!

          Tapes are small, disposable, cheap, reliable. Hard drives are maybe 2 of those.

          • by hitmark (640295)

            most of that ruggedness comes from the actual storage surface being a seperate piece from the RW hardware.

            drop a tape, and your dropping a long length of plastic covered in rust. Drop a HDD and your dropping several plates covered in rust, some moveable arms, at least one electric motor, and a bunch of IC.

            sometimes i am surprised that those drives are as robust as they are.

            • Most of the time HDDs will be fine if the heads are parked and you don't go above about 4g (I think). Still, you really don't want a medium that is as unstable as an HDD for your backups. The more opportunities for a backup to fail the more risk you're taking by using it, and the risk with HDDs would be in the "extreme" category.

              We only use RAID as a short term data recovery system, so suggesting using HDDs as a backup (RAID or otherwise) is just silly. I have seen business' install brand new robotic tape l

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Huh? How are tapes cheap and disposable? If they were cheap, then more people would be using them for backups, not just enterprises and other large corporate users. As it is, small users typically use SATA HDs for backup, because they're so cheap on a $/GB basis. With tapes, the drives are very expensive and usually require SCSI cards, and the tapes aren't that cheap either, so if you have only a couple terabytes to back up, it just isn't worth it. It's better to just get 2 1TB drives for $70 each and

            • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:19PM (#32530430) Journal
              I think you answered your own question there. Tapes are relatively cheap. Tape Drives are Not. Therefore, unless you are a large enough outfit to be amortizing the cost of the tape drive across a large number of tapes, tapes are effectively expensive. If you are, though, tapes are effectively cheap.
              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                Cheap, but not that cheap. Some other person here quoted 800GB for $30. That's better than BD-R, but it's really not much better than $70/TB for SATA hard drives. Considering how much simpler it is (no electronics, no motor, no CNC-machined aluminum chassis, just a cheap plastic box with some magnetic tape inside), it really should be an order of magnitude cheaper than hard drives. I realize HDs sell in huge volumes, but still I imagine with all the enterprise and corporate users, tape sales should be p

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by hawguy (1600213)

              Tapes are very cheap, LTO4 tapes hold 800GB (native, not compressed) and cost around $30.

              It's the drives that are expensive for home user -- no home user wants to pay $2000 for a tape drive.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by WuphonsReach (684551)
            Tapes are small, disposable, cheap, reliable. Hard drives are maybe 2 of those.

            The media may be cheap, but the drives are expensive and sometimes proprietary. So you'd best be a big enough outfit to buy at least multiple drives. Not to mention that you need to replace tapes regularly. At $2000/drive and needing at least three, plus needing 60 tapes per year at $30ea... you could buy around 30-40 1TB hard drives, with carry cases or trays. And you need to lay out that $7500 right at the start, plus th
        • by cgenman (325138)

          The idea of backing up to a hard drive is just frightening. Hard Disk Drives are what you need to keep data safe FROM. I have things in my refrigerator that live longer than some of these damned disks.

          Of course, I don't trust tapes either. But I don't trust tapes a lot less than I don't trust Hard Drives.

      • Lemme know how that works out when your SAN gets tossed in a truck and spends most of a day banging around city streets and parking lots.

        • Why come up with stupid problem with trivial solutions? They are rated for 300G, will they fail any way with bad transit? Yes. Often? Probably not. Just keep a temporary local copy of every backup. After the drives get plugged into the remote MAID they get checked, if something went wrong, make a new copy and try again.

          I'm not saying designing such a system makes sense, tape is a mature system ... and if the data really needs to be available fast enough to justify a remote MAID you can probably pay for fibe

      • A 3.5" sata drive weights the same as a LTO cartridge? Quick googling suggests 3 tapes weigh (and cost) about the same as a single drive (.4lbs vs 1.3lbs; $30/800GB vs $80/1TB)
    • Flash is promising, but still not there in terms of reliablity.

      They have 800GB flash drives that cost around $30? News to me.

  • Offsite backups... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nweaver (113078) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:51PM (#32528838) Homepage

    Although disk is compellingly cheap, if you want reliable, multiple, and offside-stored backups, tape really is the answer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Single disks are slow as hell too. Try seeing what a single cheap SATA disc can sustain for writes, they suck.

    • "if you want reliable, multiple, and offside-stored backups, tape really is the answer."

      If it is not reliable, multiple and off-sited, it's not backup.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:53PM (#32528872) Journal

    I'll tell you whats next...

    A device that lets you type up a word document and it prints it out real time. Essentially it prints your keystrokes as soon as you press them. I also foresee it having an extremely long battery life.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      in windows using a dot matrix printer or even some older ink jets.

      copy con lpt1

      was like using a type writer again.. funny thing was on newer printers it would print one char per page instead - funny to watch

    • by genner (694963)

      I'll tell you whats next...

      A device that lets you type up a word document and it prints it out real time. Essentially it prints your keystrokes as soon as you press them. I also foresee it having an extremely long battery life.

      ...and very poor editing abilities. Also it doesn't make copies for some reason.

  • Mainframe and tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tooyoung (853621) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:54PM (#32528880)
    I'm guessing this story was posted by someone with absolutely no experience with enterprise-level businesses.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      100% guaranteed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by confused one (671304)
      I'm guessing this person(s) also has no experience setting up a disaster recovery plan with offsite storage for a small to medium sized business.
  • Real link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:58PM (#32528940) Journal
    Here is the real link that is missing from the summary [channelinsider.com].

    I always wonder about tape backup.....it seems everyone I know who uses it has had it fail. Hard drives fail too, it's true, but the anecdotal evidence I have says if you are using tape backup, you better have multiple backups.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      How does that matter since disks are not even in the running? They are slow, not safe for storage, not safe to transport.

      Real world advice from an enterprise sysadmin:
      If you are doing backups, always have multiple backups since a single one will always fail when you actually need it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TooMuchToDo (882796)
      The problem with tape vs live backups is that you can immediately test the integrity of your data against checksums or other redundant chunks of the data in realtime. Not so with tape. Once you write to tape, unless you check it every so often, you have no idea if the data is still good or not.

      Trust but verify.

      • Re:Real link (Score:4, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:05PM (#32529030)

        Live backups fail the minute you have a real big failure. Unless you have multiple sites and a huge pipe between them. Then you still should have tapes off site so one employee can't go destroying all your nice backups when he goes nuts.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TooMuchToDo (882796)
          Example: My last gig was with the DOE working on the US site for the CMS experiment for the Large Hadron Collider. We had around 5PB of spinning disk and 17PB of LTO4 tape storage for the detector data (you can't really backup 17PB offsite for a reasonable cost). We'd have bad tapes quite often, and it didn't matter if you did a verify at the end of the tape write before it was stored by the robotics.
      • Re:Real link (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:11PM (#32529104)

        You check the tape at the end of writing it. Everyone does this. You also test your backups, if you are not testing them you do not have backups.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TooMuchToDo (882796)
          We did this at my last gig. You'd still have bad tapes, didn't matter if you checked the tape at the end of the write.
      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by PhunkySchtuff (208108)

        A lot of modern tape drives have a read head positioned immediately following the write head, so they continuously read back what they've written to verify that what's on the tape is what you intended to put on the tape.

        Here's a primer on LTO technology [lto.org]

    • I've not much anecdotal evidence (bout a years worth), but we haven't had a tape fail on us yet.

      Of course, we don't test every single one of em, but when we need a file from 3 years ago, no problems yet.

    • ...if you are using tape backup, you better have multiple backups.

      Yes, you got it in one. That's the whole idea of tape based backups. Redundancy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by icebike (68054)

      Tape sucks.

      I've used it for 25 years, with a variety of vendors, capacities and dozens of drives, and every single unit I've ever had failed, not only the tapes themselves, but also the drives. People can't remember to cycle tapes, tapes die and people don't notice, and you can't buy the tapes 3 years down the line.

      Disk is much simpler, and more robust.

      We finally realized that we were backing up a very reliable media with a very un-reliable one.

      Finally we switched to compressed backups stacked on cheap red

      • by afidel (530433)
        Must be using cheap consumer based tape, DLT, LTO, and IBM's various tape formats are solid, reliable, and available. I can still buy new drives today that will read tapes written 20+ years ago and media 4 generations old is still available new.
        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Must be using cheap consumer based tape, DLT, LTO, and IBM's various tape formats are solid, reliable, and available.

          What "consumer based tape" are you talking about? Trying going into a Best Buy and finding any kind of tape and drive. There is no such thing. From what I've seen, LTO is basically the main tape format that still exists.

          I remember having a consumer-level tape drive back in the 90s that connected to the floppy port, but that was the days of 200MB hard drives and 120MB QIC tapes. No one use

      • by labnet (457441)

        I agree tape sucks.. at least for SME.

        We backup nightly to SATA using a 10 drive hanoi scheme. It cost $30 for a caddy that takes the naked 5.25" drives. The drives cost $50.
        They go into a fire proof safe, with offsite drives swapped once a fortnight.
        When we need to find the 'lost' file, it takes 60seconds, not 20 minutes of tape searching.

        DLT,LTO etc has its place in enterprise, but for SME, SATA is the way to go.

        • by turing_m (1030530)

          It cost $30 for a caddy that takes the naked 5.25" drives.

          Surely you mean 3.5"? The caddy system itself might be 5.25". The only place I can think of to get a 5.25" HDD from would be an attic or a museum.

          Does a caddy have any advantages over an e-SATA HDD dock? I like that the latter can be used for multiple machines, but it's more clutter. And I guess that usually machines tend to only have one e-SATA port, so if you had two caddies you could double the throughput. Hmmm. Thanks for the tip, I've got sev

    • "if you are using tape backup, you better have multiple backups."

      There's no such a beast as a "single copy backup". If it's not multiple, it's a copy, not a backup.

  • A revival? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:05PM (#32529026)

    Did it ever go away? As far as I knew it was always how you did long term backup. We just bought a new tape unit here since we needed more backup storage, and the development of new LTO formats continues apace. Disks are what you use for online storage, and for online backups, you have redundant disks. That is for sure our first line of defense. We have a RAID-6 system with hot spares. Ok, but what about if something bigger happens? I'm not just talking about facilities destruction, what happens if something goes apeshit in the storage system and screws up all the data (or maybe a malicious admin does)? If our backup is just a realtime hookup to another online system, we are screwed.

    Tapes though, the protect for a lot of things. We take regular backups, in rotation, so that even if the online system is messed up, there are backups to go to. Those backups can also easily be rotated to secure storage facilities. These are places that aren't easy to have an online system, even if you wanted. You are talking like a vault or something to keep it safe even in extreme situations.

    They are also great if we want to keep data for a long time. Tapes have good shelf life. Better than a HDD. This is largely because they are simpler. They are just, well, tapes. Retension them once a year, they can last decades.

    So I wasn't aware tapes had gone anywhere. We sure don't use them on individual machines, or use them as fast backups, but they are wonderful as an emergency backup. The protect against a number of issues that an online disk system can't. They can also easily give you the benefit of offsite backups for a much lesser cost. Costs a lot more to get a second high end storage system and house it in another building with fibre than to just walk some tapes over to a vault.

  • by frooddude (148993) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:12PM (#32529122)

    The business I work for goes through tapes like they're used to make coffee. Primary use: legal escrow of source code.

  • Tape is vastly superior in price/performance* for archival and offsite backup of data. To anything. Maybe someday that'll change, but not soon.

    [*: LTO-5 holds 1.6TB uncompressed for 15-30 years in a $100 cartridge the approximate size and weight of a paperback book**.]
    [**: Okay, the weight of a Steven King paperback. Still.]

    • by Big Boss (7354)

      How much for the drives? And you need at least 2 for DR as the first one could die or get destroyed in the fire that killed the servers. For large companies that can pay for those drives over many systems being backed up, LTO might make sense even then. For home users, and even mid-size business users, the costs for the drives kill LTO out of the gate. Tape has its advantages, but the full system cost kills it for a very large market. Of course, I would never have referred to tape as "dead" as there is stil

      • The drives are not cheap, it's true. (The standard is open enough and the hardware common enough that I question the need for a shelf-spare for disaster recovery, but you still have a point.) This can be mitigated somewhat with older generation drives, though; it's a rare small business or municipality which can't fit a full server backup on LTO3, and an LTO3 drive plus a few tapes can be had for around a grand last I checked.

        The bigger thing, though, is that tape cartridges are a simple system that a non-t

      • For most users that can't afford it, it's cheaper and more reliable to run ZFS capable servers in multiple locations with some kind of backup and snapshot jobs running to keep data and history data available.

        Depending on how much data needs to be backed up, you could get away with just transporting HDD offsite, perhaps mirrored or RAIDZed. No need to have a separate server, and the offline nature of it means that if you are hacked then your backup is safer than it otherwise would be. As you say, the snapsh

  • Businesses aren't even upgrading from XP or IE 6 on relatively cheap desktop PCs that are probably be cycled through anyway because what they have simply "works", and you expect them to do differently with servers? For that matter there are probably plenty of dumb terminals and main frames still out there being used rather than a 'return'. We just got rid of the last of our dumb terminals a three years ago. The system we had worked. Buying a replacement was a multi-million dollar project that involved racks

  • i could find a tape system that was sanely priced for home use.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Look for used/refurbished drives.
      Still not cheap but you can get them for hundreds instead of thousands.

      http://www.backupworks.com/reconditioned-refurbished-tape-drives.aspx [backupworks.com]

      Never used them just found it via google.

    • I bought a used LTO2 tape drive for ~$175 (prior to that I used a LTO1 drive that I bought for the same price but a few years earlier).I don't have any problems with it, I can find blank tapes locally or on ebay and the 30MB/s read/write speed is enough for me as is the 200GB capacity. I also have a DDS4 drive for when I need to back up a very slow hard drive or when there are a bunch of small files that need to be backed up (like on a system disk) and the hard drive is too slow to keep up with LTO tape.

  • by Vrallis (33290) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @07:58PM (#32530242) Homepage

    This is why us geeks on the 'working end' of the spectrum hate dealing with the sheltered back-end IT geeks.

    Yes, we use tape. It's portable, easy to swap, easy to use, cheap to replace when it wears out, etc.

    I do have cases where backups are made to disk or over network--then those backups go to tape so they can be rotated offsite.

    The one case where I'm stuck dealing with backups to a portable HD between Windows, VMware and the backup software in question the whole setup is so badly broken that the entire thing has to be rebooted in order to swap the USB hard drive to rotate it offsite.

    The people responsible for making comments like 'tape is dead' need to be dragged (probably kicking and screaming) into the real world for a while and learn what all their toys are really used for. A server handed to us with a fresh OS is just a doorstop until we actually get applications on it and it is actually capable of *doing something*.

    Okay, done ranting for the day...

  • Amazon recommends Fed-Ex for AWS -- http://newsletters.networkworld.com/t/4725748/258645701/111837/0/ [networkworld.com]. They want the whole fucking storage unit, up to 50 pounds, and will return anything less.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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