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Activity Forums Storage & Archiving LTO Archive vs Near line storage

  • Tom Goldberg

    November 22, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    OK, I just have to jump in here and argue with the statements made about Cache-A.

    Promax may no longer support Cache-A products, but they can still read and write Cache-A tapes and catalogs with their current products.

    And statements about not being able to read Cache-A tapes are just plain false. They are all written either in LTFS or open source tar (at the user’s discretion), documentation is available as posted elsewhere on this forum. Nothing was ever written in a proprietary format and no special drivers are needed.

    As to the thread topic, while the economics and speed arguments over the value of using LTO may be valid, the fearmongering that you won’t be able to buy drives is also patently false. You can still buy every generation LTO drive ever built on ebay – hell, you can even buy floppy disk drives – check yourself!

    Tom Goldberg
    TGCS
    30201 Rainbow Hill Rd.
    Evergreen, CO 80439
    mailto:tomgoldberg@gmail.com
    https://tomgoldberg.net

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    November 23, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    In my short experience of writing LTO tapes from LTO-4 to the recent LTO-8, one of the enduring formats I’ve found is Bru-PE.

    A client recently had to sell a TV show from the 2009-11 period which was then mastered as ProResHQ HD mov files to hard disk, and DigiBeta tapes as SD for telecast in 2009-11. When this show had to be sold again to an OTT platform as HD, the only files they could use were on LTO-4 tapes written with Bru-PE during that period.

    We could open these on a recent LTO-6 drive and even with a newer version of Bru-PE and extract all of about 40 tapes. Hard drives of that period (G-drives and a G-StudioXL) refused to mount consistently enough to extract data off them. We didn’t have the catalog info for all the tapes, but reading the content info off the tape wasn’t difficult.

    Of the same period, I had another client approach me with tapes written using Windows NTBackup. This format has been discontinued by Microsoft and newer versions of Windows from Win 7 onwards have no support for tape based NTBackup backups. I need to figure out setting up a working WinXP machine to help this client get his data back. Even after I do, I’m not sure, if, in the absence of any catalog info which gets saved on the Win system which wrote these NTBackup tapes, air all the data will ever be recovered.

    Another client had tapes from earlier, which were written with Symantec Backup (according to them), but the newer version of this software they found, cannot retrieve that data.

    So, while LTFS is probably more open and common now, and gain forward may be a better format to backup LTOs to, LTO tapes from about pre-2008 while still in good shape, but the means to extract data from them could be challenging.

    ———————————–
    Neil Sadwelkar
    neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
    twitter: fcpguru
    FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
    Mumbai India

  • Tim Jones

    November 30, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Bob,

    That post is a bad example and Barry has been hit by some serious issues with our prior outdated system (from 2004). I don’t respond to Support Requests here generally to maintain my position as vendor neutral. TOLIS Group is still alive and well and the support system has been replaced with a modern 64bit server with a modern LAMP stack and the latest version of osTicket. You can open a ticket and get a response at https://support.tolisgroup.com.

    Also, regarding technology obsolescence, we have LTO-1 drives from 2001, AIT-2 drives from 2002, DLT-80 drives from 1997, 2GB DAT drives from 1991, and 250GB QIC cartridge drives from 1988 that still function properly and allow our current version of BRU to restore the information that was recorded onto their respective tape formats. Not all technology goes away simply because vendors release new formats. Think about that – a 2GB DAT tape that was recorded in 1992 on an SCO XENIX system is still recoverable on a 2018 Linux system.

    The big issue with cloud that is not on-premises will always be bandwidth. When a relatively modest wedding shoot brings in 4-5TB of multiple camera data, there’s no way to get that data onto your cloud storage before your next job adds that much more data. Imaging trying to manage that when shooting a larger production.

    While nothing that has been mentioned about disk is incorrect, many myths about tape storage are.

    Tim

    Tim Jones
    CTO – TOLIS Group, Inc.
    https://www.tolisgroup.com
    BRU … because it’s the RESTORE that matters!

  • Tim Jones

    November 30, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    As Tom mentions – just because the vendor is gone, doesn’t mean that existing devices cease to function. And, in the case of Cache-A, even if the Cache-A devices fail, the tar and LTFS tapes can be accessed by other systems (unlike Quantum’s DLT-A and LTO-4A devices).

    Tim

    Tim Jones
    CTO – TOLIS Group, Inc.
    https://www.tolisgroup.com
    BRU … because it’s the RESTORE that matters!

  • Tim Gerhard

    November 30, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    You’re lucky if you can read a DAT / DDS tape after so long. The media is expected to last 10 years. Our data recovery department encountered a DAT tape from the 90’s and the data was just long gone.

    The main problem that I see with LTO TAR systems is that the companies that make the software get swallowed so often. I’m wrong to say proprietary, but when you need an IT pro that knows how to use TAR or data recovery service to help you get your data off your tape, I can’t say that many people are very happy about it. Most people don’t even know what software was used to write the tape when they come looking for help.

    TAR is still much easier to deal with at least, just make sure you have a plan to recover your data assuming a bad scenario of that software becoming unavailable. Old tape hardware is still pretty easy to get, we sell LTO2 drives quite frequently still for support contracts.

    Tim Gerhard
    MagStor Inc.
    614-505-6333
    tgerhard@magstor.com

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    December 1, 2018 at 4:18 am

    [Tim Gerhard] “but you need to take their location / time zone into account. Imagine Products are in Indiana USA, YoYotta is in the UK, and Hedge is in Amsterdam or something?”

    This statement is for those currently in the USA. If you happen to be in India like me, then all are far away, with the US being the farthest, with a solid 9.5-12.5 hour time difference making any telephonic support a night long affair for any one side.

    Regarding Hedge, I own 10 licenses of Hedge and just bought 3 of Canister. I’ve found Hedge support to be excellent and usually get a response within a few hours.
    Similarly Tolis and Bru. I have three licenses, and I’ve not had too many issues that needed issues, and for the few that have, I usually get an e-mail response within a day or two.
    And I have one license of Yoyotta ID LTFS. For which support from Martin has been excellent. Even though I’ve contacted him, not with issues with the software, but my lack of understanding how to use it and he’s been patient too.

    I also bought a license of Imagine Preroll Post some years ago, but ran into a database problem when just starting a large feature rushes backup. A problem that didn’t get resolved so I stopped using that software and eventually abandoned it.

    I have 4 LTO drives of my own and use two others at client establishments. And I backup to LTO about half a Petabyte annually.

    When dealing with LTO, hardware support is sometimes more crucial than software support, as I’ve found often, hardware issues manifest themselves as software issues. And in this matter, support from Tandberg has been excellent at least here in India. Whereas the other tape hardware manufacturers are absent to non-existent in India.

    A huge problem in India are high Customs tariffs and slow import/export procedures. So, anything needing shipping hardware back and forth is a huge no-no. So, if anyone said there were making an LTO drive and were US based, and their support needed sending a drive back and they would send a replacement same day, for us in India it would mean two week turnaround with a possible customs duty added.

    So all of this support thing is pretty regional. There really is a huge world out there, and a lot of it is also outside the US.

    ———————————–
    Neil Sadwelkar
    neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
    twitter: fcpguru
    FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
    Mumbai India

  • Tim Jones

    December 4, 2018 at 6:23 am

    I would have loved to have had out team be able to examine that tape. Unless the tape itself was aggressively degaussed, the drive should have been able to find the servo tracking information and at least been able to give you the hard format header info. Granted, I have some magic in my drives because I was part of the team responsible for the original design in conjunction with SGI and HP, and I can coax a bit of recovery efforts from them, but I’ve never seen a DAT tape just “lose” it’s tracks and data unless it was horribly mishandled. I still own the first customer unit DAT from our Maynard division (complete with the ADAT digital audio I/O port for SGI in our lab.

    Tim

    Tim Jones
    CTO – TOLIS Group, Inc.
    https://www.tolisgroup.com
    BRU … because it’s the RESTORE that matters!

  • Eric Strand

    December 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks to the Tims’ and Neil for jumping in!

    @ericstrand11

  • Eric Strand

    May 20, 2023 at 12:58 am

    Welp, little short of 5 years later, little did we know what was coming in 2020…

    20TB HDD’s are indeed out, B&H offering 20TB Seagate Exos drives for $369. LTO 9 is out with 18TB native capacity, pretty tempting. Hedge is still around; I’m also seeing Symply’s name come up pretty often. Seems like companies are slowly starting to swing back from cloud to on-prem for compute and storage. The company I’m at has a Synology 3400, still working on an archive solution. Looks like we’ll be moving to iconik for MAM.

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    May 20, 2023 at 3:31 am

    I re-read this whole thread from 2018. So much changed. 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.

    On-prem is being looked at once again, because those that adopted cloud storage, 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 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 no on-prem storage is ‘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.

    The next 5 years will see (hopefully not) a few cloud storage players go down, and with that, a scramble to restore the TBs of data that’s on their servers.

    Neil

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