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Forums Storage & Archiving TOLIS closed — recommendations for LTO backup moving forward?

  • TOLIS closed — recommendations for LTO backup moving forward?

     Tim v d Hoff updated 1 week, 6 days ago 11 Members · 18 Posts
  • Per Scaffidi

    October 5, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Just saw the official news today. I have sets of LTO 5 & 6 footage backups made with an Ultrium LTO6 drive and cheesegrater Mac using (I believe) Bru 3. So I have a few questions and would appreciate any advice and/or criticism:

    1) On the hardware side, how long do I keep using this setup before migrating?

    2) What recommendations do folks have for software? I saw on another recent post that Bob recommended Canister.

    3a) Is it safe to hang on to the existing Bru-created tapes, or should the data be migrated using the new LTO backup software? I know that the tape catalogues will be readable, but I’m more concerned that at some point when the Mac dies, I’ll be stuck trying to resuscitate old hardware off of eBay just to be able to run this version of Bru.

    3b) All the data on the tapes are also duplicated on hard drives. I could conceivably re-write to the same tapes using new LTO software. Does that make sense or is that crazy?

  • Martin Greenwood

    October 5, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    You are in a good position as you have the LTO tapes and also the hard drives. If you have an LTO drive then it would make sense to write new tapes in LTFS format as this has cross platform support from multiple vendors. It’s probably easiest to do that from the hard drives. If you don’t have an LTO drive, then I would look at buying/renting a LTO-8 drive. Or if you don’t think you need the files for next 6 months or so then wait and use an LTO-9 drive next year !




  • Bob Zelin

    October 7, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    I recommend YoYotta (Hi Martin Greenwood) and Canister. Both are LTFS, both are great. I can observe a basic problem with what you have and what you are asking. You have an old Cheesegrater, and an old version of BRU. Unfortunately, that is not how this industry works. You need to give up eating, you need to give up going to the doctor, and start spending money on new equipment (hardware and software) all the time. I don’t care if you wind up living in a cardboard box on the street. You will have nice, modern, current equipment, and you will be able to do your job, and not deal with the insanity that you are about to face now. Buying equipment is part of being in our business. There is no getting away from it. Lucky for you, modern products from YoYotta, Hedge, etc are cheaper than ever and work better than ever before. It will just make your life easier, as you wait on the soup line, since you have no money left for food, since you purchased a new Mac, a new LTO, and a copy of YoYotta LTFS.

    Bob Zelin

  • Jim Curtis

    October 9, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    I agree with Martin, that because your media is still on drives, it would be easiest to make new tapes from them.

    Being in a similar predicament, and you may have read my long thread on this previously, James Vorley helped me discover that even on a new Mac running Catalina, it’s possible do transfer the media on older BRU PE tapes to a drive using the Terminal.

    It’s not simple, but it’s fairly easy, once you know the procedure. It involves using the terminal to get some header info from the tape, and then using that info to restore the tape contents. In my case, I had to rename a drive to the same name the media was sourced when the tape was written.

    Speculating here: It should be possible to avoid renaming a disk. James tried several text string variables, but since copying the whole tape to an external drive I could rename was good enough for my purposes, we called it a day. Again, I can’t thank James enough for his help.

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    October 12, 2020 at 3:38 am

    One of the issues that anyone with Bru faces now is that, if they have ver 3.x, then they can no longer upgrade to Argest 4.x. And that’s important because ver 3.x does not work on macOS 10.15. And any new Mac you buy now, will have macOS 10.15 pre-installed and which cannot (presumably ) be rolled back, nor can the Mac be booted with macOS 10.14.

    So, if one is using Bru 3.x on an old system, then that needs to be replaced with an old system too. One option is to buy a refurb Mac 2018/19 model on the Apple Store. Or, of course scour eBay or some other such site for an old system. Outlets like OWC could be having good ‘open box’ deals on 2018/19 models too. But the time is literally, now, for this purchase.

    Alternately, since Tolis is closed, one can possibly ‘borrow’ a copy of Argest for someone who has it, and then one is fine with a new Mac. But any compatibility issues with older Bru 2.x and Bru 3.x catalogs with Argest, will not be supported since Tolis isn’t functional.

    The situation will get more complicated next year or maybe 2021 when all new Macs ship with macOS11 which may or may not work with Argest.

    Migrating from Bru archives to LTFS using a good LTFS app is a possibility for the original poster because they have all the data on drives as well. But for someone who doesn’t, the laborious task of restoring their Bru tapes to drives, and then writing them to LTFS looms large, and needs to be done within about the next 2-3 years.

    Happily though this might be a good thing as the number of tapes will reduce drastically. Like, 12 or more LTO-4 tapes will be replaced by one LTO-8. Or even with LTO-5, 7 or more LTO-5 tapes will be replaced by one LTO-8. If one waits for LTO-9, then there number or tapes reduced will be even more.

    But migrating LTO looks like is going to be a necessity as older LTO tapes become unsupported by newer LTO drives. Already LTO-8 tape drives can no longer read LTO-6 or earlier tapes. So, one necessarily has to own and maintain multiple LTO drives. And check the older ones from time to time to ensure that they still work.

  • David Fox

    October 13, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Full disclosure – I represent the product mentioned below in the UK.

    Check out Archiware P5 –

    This performs Archive/Backup/Replication and is popular in the M&E space, been around for 19 years at least. It supports all the tape hardware that the TOLIS products did, has browser-based config/admin and runs on all the latest OS’s, including 10.15 and 10.16. Even been successfully tested on ARM Mac. Also runs on Linux/Windows and various NAS devices.

    Quick presentation and demo here:

    As it stands, a Tolis customer would need to recover data back to disk, from LTO, and then save again using P5.

    The product is being discounted by 50% for existing Bru customers. Archive license needs to be purchased and invoice provided.

    Happy to answer questions here if anyone interested.

    David Fox

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  • Martin Jaeger

    October 21, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Anyone familiar with Imagine Products PreRoll Post? From their website it appears to be very BRU-PE like and writes to LTFS.

    I’m in the hunt for a new workflow now too since the demise of TOLIS.. Preferably one that could still utilize my HP LTO-5 drive. Not sure if LTO-5 is possible with LTFS.. PreRoll Post and others only list compatibility with LTO-6 and up.

    Doing a trial with YoYotta now.. It recognizes my LTO-5 drive but won’t allow me to format a new tape? Waiting on email reply from tech support. They suggest this drive should work.

    Maybe just time for a shiny new LTO drive…$$$

  • Martin Jaeger

    October 21, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    Was able to get YoYatta to format a tape and testing now. The GUI and workflow seem a little clunky at first but getting the hang of it. Will require some rethink of process coming from BRU-PE. Support has been very responsive considering they’re UK time zone. Works on Catalina and they also have a Big Sur beta so looks like they are pretty agile keepin the software up to date. Anyway, thought I’d pass along in case others are contemplating this option.

  • Jim Curtis

    October 23, 2020 at 1:05 am

    I’m looking at Cannister and YoYotta, and wondering which would be best for me.

    I just want to make tapes with a verify pass, and have a searchable database of the files I’ve written to tape, and have the ability to write specific files back to RAID from my tapes.

    The Cannister site is pretty sketchy on this, and their manual isn’t available to non-users. The site says, “Logs, Logs, Logs,” and lists three types (“transfer logs, media hash list, & Manifests.” I don’t know what those mean, and they’re not defined here.), but there are no screen caps or much in the way of explanation, nor much in the way of support on their site that I’m able to find. I downloaded and launched the app a few weeks ago, after you first suggested it, and I can’t launch it now as the demo has expired, and see the details, or look at the logs. It’s $300.

    YoYotta LTFS looks like the product for me from this company. There’s a LOT more info on their products on their site. It’s $500, which is a pittance over Cannister if it’s a better product or company. It looks like a bit of overkill for my needs, but you never know what features you don’t need now that could come in handy later.

    YoYotta looks like it won’t write to my LTO4 tapes that I’m going to have a surplus of, after I restore them from BRU PE and write them to whatever new version of LTFS I go with. Again, the Cannister site is sketchy on details about this.


  • Martin Greenwood

    October 23, 2020 at 8:46 am

    LTFS is a standardised format for storing files on LTO tapes that was introduced with LTO-5. Drives from this generation onwards have hardware changes to support the two physical tape partitions required for LTFS. One partition is used for indexes and the other for data. This partitioning speeds up random access and appending of files to tapes. So you physically cannot use the LTFS format with tapes prior to LTO-5. There are other methods of writing to LTO, like TAR, that just use a single partition. TAR will work from LTO-1 onwards. YoYotta LTFS software supports restoring TAR tapes from any generation (but not writing TAR) and also archiving and restoring to LTFS (LTO-5 onwards). BRU wrote to LTO tapes using their own format, so to restore you will need to use their software.

    That was a long winded way of saying you can’t reuse your LTO-4 tapes with LTFS !! So after restoring just keep them as another backup and migrate the restored data to LTFS LTO-8 tapes.



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