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  • Restoring old Bru tapes

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 7, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    A week ago, I just had a client drop off an old LTO5 tape from 2015 that I had backed up with Bru. They needed some old media restored from it.

    I’ve transitioned to LTFS on all my current systems but maintained an old MBP with MacOS 10.12 and a running Bru installation. Alas. The MBP refused to charge up, possibly due to a MagSafe adapter that was probably not working.

    And none of my newer (MacOS 10.15 and up) could install Bru ver 3 which is what I have a license for.

    So, I downloaded Argest from the Bru web site, and installed it on my current LTO system – a Mac mini (w Mac OS 10.15). When launched, obviously Argest gave me the unlicensed warning. But, Argest has a ‘recovery only mode’ (or words to that effect) which I guess doesn’t need licensing or a purchase (or so it seems).

    Using that, I could restore whatever I needed from that old Bru LTO tape.

    So I guess this is a solution for those with old Bru tapes and no current system to run on.

    Of course, keeping and maintaining an LTO-6 or LTO-5 drive is another thing to consider.

    By the way I did have catalogs for that tape saved. But since the MBP with the catalogs wouldn’t start up I couldn’t access them. Not to worry. Argest can read a Bru tape and import the tape catalog through which you can select assets to restore.

    And, subsequently, I managed to get another power adapter and charge up that Bru MBP, so all good there. Now I have a bootable clone of that MBP’s drive so I can use that o boot another system should another Bru requirement come up.

  • Bailey Jumps

    January 7, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    Neil, thanks for your post, very helpful and informative! What LTFS software did you choose for your current LTO back-up needs?

    My situation was very similar to yours: I was using BRU Server and had similar computer crash as yours (unfixable 2009 Mac) and now have a library of almost 200 LTO 5 tapes and not sure which direction to go.

    I was content using the old BRU software, but am on the fence if I should continue with them and ArGest. I’ve been disappointed with BRU’s/OWC’s tech support for BRU/ArGest (communication with them is intermittent at best and very frustrating just asking a few questions about ArGest before buying) so I’m open to other LTFS solutions (I’m not necessarily looking to upgrade to LTO 6-9 at this time, however).

    So I think I can manage restoring my old LTO 5 tapes (thanks to your post), but wondering if I should stick with “the devil I know” or make the leap to new LTFS software to make LTO 5 project backups moving forward. (I am currently using a 2017 iMac Pro / Big Sur 11.6)

    Any thoughts/suggestions?

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 8, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    Bailey,

    There’s no harm sticking to LTO-5 if the 1.5 Tb per tape is sufficient for your needs.

    Bru is a proprietary format, but its a robust format. And as my experience shows, is compatible with Argest for recovery.

    LTFS is more universal now and is more acceptable for various submissions, if that is something that matters in your workflow.

    For LTFS, I have Yoyotta, Canister and PreRoll Post. I never use PreRoll Post as some initial backups were a nightmare and I didn’t have the time to troubleshoot. Yoyotta is what I use the most, for client backups. Because it lets me organise backups, clients and projects neatly in one place. And Canister I use for ‘outdoor’ backups while on set or near set.

    Both have their pros and cons. and cost different too.

    If you go with Canister, then get a cataloguing software like NeoFinder or DiskcatalogMaker. Both of these let you make offline browsable Finder-like catalogs of the contents of your LTOs. NeoFinder has an advantage in that it will let you import Bru Catalogs. So, all your 200 Bru catalogs can now be in one database where you can search across tapes by filename, and ‘browse’ Bru tapes in a Finder like interface.

    But in the long run, you need to consider ‘migrating’ your LTO-5 tapes to LTO-8 or 9.

    It will take a while to do this, though. With a 5-day 40 hr week, to restore each batch of 18 LTO-5 tapes, and write to 2 LTO-8 on the weekend, it should take about 3 months.

    200 LTO-5 tapes will fit in about 22 LTO-8 tapes (assuming you have about 1.2 TB per tape). If you get (or make) a 2-drive RAID0 of 24 TB, then you can offload about 18 Bru LTO-5 tapes on to it, and then use that to write to 2 LTO-8 tapes. Erase RAID and repeat.

    Each LTO-8 will take about 24 hrs to write and verify. RAID0 because the read speed of a 2-drive RAID0 nearly matches the write speed of an LTO-8 tape.

  • Bailey Jumps

    January 10, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    Neil, thanks very much for your detailed reply. Again, very helpful!

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