Feeds

back to article Bring your backups out of the closet! It's time for 'Tape Pride'

The tape industry should stop making excuses and instead raise its head with pride. Tape is great for archiving and nothing else comes close. In fact the gap with disk competition is going to widen in tape's favour. This was the gist of senior ESG analyst Mark Peters' message at Tape Summit in San Francisco, during which a …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

Lifetime?

"and a 30-year life that can be relied on"

Which tape drive manufacturers are guaranteeing a 30 year supported life for the format (and without any stupid firmware updates that render previously written tapes unreadable)?

Yes, I'm cynical, as I doubt any archive policy that is not along the lines of "change every 5 years to suit technology" won't work.

2
2

Re: Lifetime?

The biggest problem with the theory of a '30year lifetime' is that you F! can't get hold of a drive that survives for more than 5 years these days.

I just need 10year lifetime, but I really hope no one ever comes asking if I can restore something from a 10year old DLT tape as I doubt we have a single one of those still working, or a server it can be connected to... (Not that many SCSI-II connectors on a modern Blade system... )

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Lifetime?

re: DLT recovery - If interfaces are a problem you can use an old SCSI->FC bridge. You'd be surprised by how durable tape drives actually are. I work at a company that specialises in recovering old backups and we have a few DLT7000 drives which still work fine. The main issue is the header strip and sourcing them.

0
0
Bronze badge

Cost

Tape cost per MB > HDD Cost per MB.

So, I get less for more money.

Tape libraries are adequate, but my guess is that small tape oerations are better served by hdds, and huge ones, are also best served by tape.

2
2
Boffin

I refute your comparison

Would you care to show your working?

Best cost per MB in disk: Samsung SATA* 2TB £75 = £37.50/TB

*Ignoring that SCSI disks are often used in servers and are more expensive

Best cost per MB in tape: HP LTO-5 1.5GB native £38 = £25.33/TB

2
0
Happy

Further

The disk used in my example is internal and therefore not easily removable by itself - of course hot-swappable caddy systems are commonly employed but they have a cost associated with them.

1
0
FAIL

Re: I refute your comparison

"Best cost per MB in tape: HP LTO-5 1.5GB native £38 = £25.33/TB"

You forgot to add the £2000 tape drive in your calculation, or otherwise the data will never fin it's way onto your £38 cartridge.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: I refute your comparison

As someone who sells and implement massive disk based solutions, you should be aware you don't use scsi or sas drives for the backup target, you use large, cheap drive in a raid for both the on site and off site locations. If you are using scsi or sas drives you are doing it wrong.

We currently deploy arrays consisting of however many 2TB 7500 RPM drives they need at the rate of 2.5x the data they could store, with a few a decent raid controller to manage them.

Our off site location is a blackblaze box array, and uses some proprietary software to further distribute the data between them, making it redundant at the physical destination level as well.

Still cheaper to implement than tape, and we charge $.50/gig for our off site fees, along with a $75/mo software license (they do not purchase the software used to backup, just the on site hardware)

Anon to keep company from getting mad.

0
0
FAIL

Re: I refute your comparison

You forgot to account for replacement of the tapes every 2 months too (10 uses is the recommended max, at a proper rotation schedule that ends after 2 months)

If you're using them more than that, have you tested your backups? I'll bet they have issues.

0
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: I refute your comparison

Ten uses? don't be ridiculous. You'll get over a thousand from most modern carts.

0
0
Boffin

Re: I refute your comparison

However, that 2TB samsung has an unrecoverable error rate (uer or uber) of 10^14, where as a lto5 has a uer of 10^17. A 1000x lower risk of data loss by using tape.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

rusty?

"tape is much better than spinning rust"

Tape is still rust though, just spooled on flexible plastic rather than spinning on a disk.

3
0
Thumb Up

Re: rusty?

There was a nice demo on the 1980s channel 4 program "the secret life of..." where he put ground-up rust on some sellotape and ran it through a tape recorder.

That kind of thing inspires budding child engineers to wreck anything with the word Tendberg on the front.

1
0

Re: Tendberg?

What's that?

A Chinese knock-off?

How does it compare to my father's Tandberg?

(One of the pro models with those large spools)

Or maybe you're thinking of the Tandberg tape streamers?

(I have a few of the old 1.2GB SLRs at home. They served so faithfully for so many years that I didn't have the heart to throw them out with the servers... Bulletproof! )

2
0
Unhappy

Re: Tendberg?

"I have a few of the old 1.2GB SLRs at home. They served so faithfully for so many years that I didn't have the heart to throw them out with the servers... Bulletproof!"

Can't say this about the later variants with motorized eject. All of the ones we had died because some flimsy plastics parts in the mechanics disintegrated after relatively low operating hours.

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: rusty?

I believe that was the video recorder episode (series 2, episode 5). FYI, all episodes available for free (and legal) download here: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/SLOM/index.html

0
0

Re: rusty?

Thanks for the link.

And yes it was a small typo on my part, not a Chinese knockoff.

0
0

Re: Tendberg?

I've never liked motorized eject... Too much that can (and will) go wrong...

Unfortunately, it's necessary if you want a tape library.

(Unless you build a 'side-loaded' SLR where you just place the front of the tape up against the drive. That's the nice thing ablut SLRs, you never pulled the tape out of the cartridge, or even 'engaged' with cogs or axles to drive the spools.)

On todays drives it's impossible to do a mechanical eject, which means you usually have to partially disassemble the drive to remove a tape when the drive dies and you need to send it in. (I'm NOT giving anyone MY tapes!)

0
0

Long live tape!

The big disk vendors (especially those who also sell backup software) have been saying tape is dead for ages - I wonder why?

Every customer I talk to wants to reduce their reliance on tape and has a desire to remove it completely but I know of very few outside the SME space who have been able to.

The main problem with tape is restore speeds and reliability of media and drives - contrary to popular belief if you get the right data set pushed to a tape library it will outperform all but the fastest and most expensive disk systems which few customers will consider using for backups. The big problem area in tape backup is unstructured data but technology can help alleviate that or do the first backup to disk and then either keep on disk for a desired period or move it off to tape when there is more time to do so. If a customer can get to a point where most of their restores are coming from disk it takes away the main problems associated with tape which is what most customers do.

For those who need to keep data for less than ~3 years disk is viable for most but once you go over ~3 years or the data volumes are huge then disk is still too expensive regardless of compression or deduplication or what the disk vendors may say.

3
0
Silver badge

If you want to take away my Memorex silo ...

... you'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead data center.

Seriously, nothing beats mag tape for long-term, near-line storage.

1
0
Pint

Fud-a-licious

And as usual the marketing folk completely disregard operational necessity in terms of restores which lets face it is the fundamental function of backup. Tape is for archiving and does that job well enough. However tape is utterly kack if you need to do a db restore ‘on the fly’ or recover single files when compared to disk. This is especially ture if the business relies on high data availability.

So then we come to the article and imagine my surprise that there is much blowing of the tape trumpet at a jolly for the tape industry. My surprise was utterly complete because I would never have imagined that fud would be so prevalent at an industry shindig.

Call me cynical but I’m off for a pint. Natch.

1
0
Alert

Re: Fud-a-licious

As in all things in life, always back to the same thing: Follow the money trail....

Who was paying??

PR isn't generally free.

0
0
(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Re: Fud-a-licious

No-one paid us, if that is what you are implying.

0
0

Re: Fud-a-licious

The original pres., not the coverage of it.

0
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Why not use both? We back up to cheap disks, and from there to tape.

Benefits of both, (costs of both).

1
0

Great for backing up, less so for recovery

It depends which you've agreed to do but recovery of a huge database from tape takes a long time unless you have multiple tape drives (see cost) to parallelise.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Great for backing up, less so for recovery

Err... That's why you design the system properly. If you've got a very large database, you either deal with the time it takes to backup, or you disk snapshot it for a fast recovery point.

It's usually best to think of recovery solutions, rather than backup solutions.

5
0
Trollface

Tape Pride

I know what we need: a little ribbon made out of magnetic tape that we can cross over itself and wear with pride!

0
0
Facepalm

Tape still looks obsolete and too expensive, even with the hard disk price blip.

ZFS RAID5+N makes the 'better error rate' on tape irrelevant, given ZFS protects from and detects full end-to-end hardware and media data corruption, something which tape can't do. ZFS supports multiple live Dataset snapshots which don't waste time, storage space or requiring incremental backup software like tape does, and possibly no down-time for backups, so beats Tape for timeliness too.

If you have at least two ZFS RAID5+N NAS boxes, for replication, Tape becomes a completely pointless waste of money unless you genuinely have space issues for powered-off RAID array storage and can afford the higher costs of tape backup.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.