Data ‘migration’ as a fact of (data) life
I was re-reading a thread on LTO archives from 2018.
So much changed in these past 5 years.
LTO-6 has evolved up to LTO-9. LTFS has endured. While some non-LTFS softwares survive, Bru went away, but got revived as Argest. Even if one had Bru licences, one needed a MacOS 10.14 or earlier system to run it. Argest import of Bru catalogs off tape is a bit iffy, so, large quantities of Bru archives are best restored using an older MacOS 10.14 system.
Some of those that adopted cloud storage, are re-looking at on-prem. Because they’ve realised that over a long period, the monthly ‘holding’ charges quickly add up. Then there are ‘egress’ fees to get back your own data.
LTO backup’s one big issue is availability of compatible tape drives, and the software they were written in, after extended periods. Like, those who archived to LTO-1 to LTO-3 in the early 2000s, may or may not find the software and the system, to restore those tapes. Like NTBackup on Windows was quite popular (in my region) and I know people with stacks of those tapes. They have no easy way to read those tapes now, as the current Windows doesn’t support the software. Same with many other pre-LTFS softwares.
‘LTO migration’, and in general ‘data migration’ is a fact of life, and even on-prem storage is not ‘forever’. I tell clients that any on-prem or off-site archive storage is good for about 5 years. After that it needs to be migrated to something else.
Meanwhile those with a stack of LTO tapes, and TBs in the cloud, and an on-prem 5 year old NAS, will find the really old tapes can’t be (easily) read any more, and are taking up too much space. The TBs in the cloud have already costed way more than they had imagined and the next 5 years will cost the same or more. And the NAS is showing is age.
I’m about to undertake a large ‘migration’ project taking a client’s 9-11 year old LTO-4, 5, 6 tapes all written using Bru (in 2011-15), restoring them, and then writing them to LTO-9 using LTFS. About 23 LTO-4 tapes will be replaced with 1 LTO-9 tape. Or 12 LTO-5 tapes will be replaced with 1 LTO-9 tape.
Some people have stacks of drives. 2-6TB drives with data on them and still readable. These get ‘migrated’ to the largest available enterprise drives and get another 5 years of readable life. The newer 20TB drives can read at 250+ MB/sec so they make a good ‘near-line’ archive for recently cold data.