back to article Reel talk: You know what's safely offline? Tape. Data protection outfit Veeam inks deal with Quantum

Data protection firm Veeam has forged an alliance with one of the oldest data protection technologies of all – tape. Tape storage outfit Quantum and Veeam said the latter's backup software can send data to tape via a dedicated external physical server, which hosts Veeam's tape server. This physical server has to be sized, …

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Safe until ...

A The new backup overwrites the old backup with new encrypted files.

B. Someone walks off with the tapes.

C. Those old tapes in the cupboard? They're old just throw them out.

D. The offsite server location caught fire?

There is no absolute safe backup - the best that you can do is run multiple backups via different methods and strategies. Remember, there are only two types of users out there, those who have lost data ... and those who are going to lose data.

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Re: Safe until ...

E. Miscreants learn how to infect the Scalar i3 tape library with ransomware.

F. Restores are carelessly done to a system still infected.

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Re: Safe until ...

As a rebuttal:

A: The idea here is that tape is offline and so is less likely to be affected by ransomeware. If you have a properly configured retention policy then the likelihood that you would overwrite the last backup with an encrypted copy would be remote. And the tape copy would be a secondary copy of the backup kept on disk - that's the way Veeam works with tape.

B: Physical security is the responsibility of every sysadmin. If someone steals your tapes its your fault, you can't blame the tape!

C:The old tapes in your cupboard are there for compliance reasons, not for for restores. And if they are so old that you can't use them in your new tape library then they should have been thrown out years ago anyway. Remember that tape drives are always backwardly compatible with the last few versions of the media.

D: The whole point of tape as part of a backup regime is to have multiple copies of your backups. Veeam recommends using a 3-2-1 rule - 3 copies of data using 2 different media with on copy being stored offsite. Look at this for further details: https://bit.ly/2GOXYOp

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Re: Safe until ...

G. Triffids attack.

H. Putin hacks base reality at the quantum level and overwrites your tape with Ukrainian Jokes.

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Joke

Re: Safe until ...

I. Your momma sits on the tape safe and crushes it like a bug.

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Re: Safe until ...

"D. The offsite server location caught fire?"

Fireproof safes.

Multiple tape copies in separate locations (used to be know as "off-site backups").

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Re: Safe until ...

C:The old tapes in your cupboard are there for compliance reasons, not for for restores. And if they are so old that you can't use them in your new tape library then they should have been thrown out years ago anyway. Remember that tape drives are always backwardly compatible with the last few versions of the media.

The backwards compatibility usually only helps you if you keep the same technology. If you've moved from DAT to LTO for example, the LTO drives can't read any of the DAT tapes.

However, as part of the decommissioning process of the last of the old DDS-4 20GB DAT drives one used in the early 2000's, would be to transfer the data from the 1000 DAT tapes for archival storage onto 7 LTO-7 tapes, or 16 slightly older (from 2013) LTO-6 tapes. Then dispose of the 1000 DAT tapes and drive.

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Re: Safe until ...

"A The new backup overwrites the old backup with new encrypted files."

This is why you have a GFS (or more generations) strategy.

I use 4 gens per year, with intermediate monthly differentials and (at least) daily incrementals, and a retention period ranging between 18 months and 5 years, with a backup package (Bacula) that allows me to pinpoint any file on any tape _AND_ its SHA256 checksum at the time of backup (so I can tell _when_ any given file changed before I even open the data safes)

When the tape _drives_ cost £12,000(LTO6) to £20,000(LTO8) apiece, the cost of tapes is in the noise.

"B. Someone walks off with the tapes."

2 * https://www.phoenixsafe.co.uk/product/data-commander-ds4623e/ here and demand for a third one if I can find the space. (They're about £6500 apiece, delivered and stuffed with drawers instead of shelves. DON'T take the shelves option, you _will_ regret it)

See #1 above. All those tapes take volume. You can put about 1850 LTOs in each one of these babies

"C. Those old tapes in the cupboard? They're old just throw them out."

See above. Your bigger problem is making sure that older LTO archives are migrated to new media within 2 _drive_ generations, or they become unreadable. Again, a decent backup system makes this straightforward.

"D. The offsite server location caught fire?"

See above

"E. Miscreants learn how to infect the Scalar i3 tape library with ransomware"

See A (This is a risk for any backup system, but you don't use the same OS on your backup server as everything else do you?)

"F. Restores are carelessly done to a system still infected."

Restores in this kind of situation are generally bare metal.

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Re: Safe until ...

DAT?? Sony stopped making DAT recorders 13 years ago. SDLT was finished as a format after 2006. LTO is really the only medium used these days. Having said all that, I will concede that LTO-8 drives have introduced an issue when it comes to backward compatibility. This is from the Wikipedia entry - "Up to and including LTO-7, an Ultrium drive can read data from a cartridge in its own generation and the two prior generations. LTO-8 drives can read LTO-7 and LTO-8 tape, but not LTO-6 tape". So if you have an LTO-8 drive you won't be able to use it to read LTO-6 tapes that you may have been using until quite recently. So you just hang on to that old LTO-6 drive until your data retention period (5/7 years or whatever company policy says) expires. Or do what a lot of people do and enlist the services of a data recovery specialist. Nothing new here!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Safe until ...

A few years back - Someone found out that Fireproof didn't mean the contents could survive intense heat, just that they wouldn't catch fire.

Tapes need a constant normal range of temperature.

Restoring from slightly melted tape is a no go,

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Re: Safe until ...

"A few years back - Someone found out that Fireproof didn't mean the contents could survive intense heat, just that they wouldn't catch fire."

You should read up on the differences between a fire safe and a _data_ safe. The latter are rated to keep the contents well below melting points for several hours of 1100C fire, take a drop of around 10 metres, endure more fire and then sit 24 hours in the embers before being recovered - and at that point they have to be left several days before being opened.

Fire safes are for paper - they just keep oxygen out. Data safes have insulation around 6 inches thick in them.

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Offline?

The tapes may be offline(able) once the data is written to them, but that nifty server needs to get the data from somewhere, most likely a connection to a network.

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Re: Offline?

Good old fashioned shoe leather, retrieving the rapes from another building does the trick.

Though at more than one place of work the offsite backups were stashed a mile or more away, so a car was more convenient.

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Re: Offline?

Exactly, this thing seems to have a tape auto-loader, which means unless you're religious about standing there for five minutes every morning to swap all the tapes out, the most recent backup will probably still be in the machine. I've never met a tape loader that took less than 30 seconds to eject one tape, and usually the same amount of time to ingest one too. That thirty seconds times at least twenty five tapes? Yeah, you're going to leave the tapes in there for at least a week before they get swapped.

And which backup are you going to use for a restore? Yup, that most recent, and online one (because most of the time, the only files you really need are the ones you were working on yesterday).

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@Wensleydale Re: Offline?

"Good old fashioned shoe leather, retrieving the rapes from another building does the trick."

As Colonel Potter used to say: Horse Hockey. You know as well as I that the server described in the article has a network connection and it's intended to function with it.

Sure, we used to cart tapes around from server to server, but I don't think that's been realistically done for at least a decade.

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Re: Offline?

"I've never met a tape loader that took less than 30 seconds to eject one tape,"

Your experience is _very_ limited. Each side of those i3s is a drawer holding 16 tapes.

Not everything is a pissant autoloader loading/ejecting one tape at a time and with only one tape drive.

Bigger robots have other access methods. If you need to load more than 12-18 tapes at a time you open the big doors and start putting them in directly (in my case up to 100 or 500 at a time). Those same robots (and the i3s) can load/unload 4-12 tape drives _each_ (and some robots can handle up to 100 drives). What you talk to those drives with is up to you, but my backup system can cope with up to 11 tape drives operating simultaneously (I'm limited by FC and SAS connections, not bandwidth)

I don't have that many tape drives to handle backups. They're there to handle bare metal _restores_, otherwise it would take several months to bring everything back.

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Anonymous Coward

ADWARE

Another Article/Ad for Third party Off site storage (aka le Cloud).

Shameless aren't they?

The only thing that gets a proper backup is Bank and tax records....

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