What determines capacity tape or drive?

We have a Sony 9000 backup tape drive that uses 4mm DAT tapes that are rated 12/24gb dependent upon compression.  Our server has just hit about 17gb and is now requiring us to use a 2nd tape for nightly backups.  If I want to avoid the 2nd tape - can I buy 'bigger' tapes or will I need to go for a new tape drive?  What's the next size up?  Is there a better alternative to DAT tape backup?  We've looked into 'live' over the internet type backups and they are just too expensive.

Thanks in advance,
Tom FI.T. and Support Staff ManagerAsked:
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Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hmmz, I can't find any specs on that tape drive, but you should check the manual if it can support bigger drives. It's normal that you don't reach the 24Gb compressed capacity. (this is calculated with 2:1 compression, but most of the time you won't reach 1.5:1 compression so yours isn't that bad)

Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
This question has more information on compression rate => http:Q_20714169.html
Tom FI.T. and Support Staff ManagerAuthor Commented:
I understand that I am getting about all I can get out of the current 12/24 tapes.

I can't tell from the documentation if it will accept bigger tapes or not, and thus why I am posting here.

and its a Sony "SDT-9000"
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Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
ThanQ for the full name, now I found some specs => http://www.storagebysony.com/OEM/products/productmain.asp?id=5 and, I'm sorry for you, but it doesn't support bigger tapes. So you can do two things:
1) Use multiple tapes
2) Upgrade to another tape drive and other tapes (take a look at DLT)

Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
At the moment I use a Benchmark DLTtape(tm) DLT/VS80 Drive todo my backups on. I'm using 40/80Gb tapes.

Tom FI.T. and Support Staff ManagerAuthor Commented:
Aside from capacity, is there any other advatage/disadvantage to DLT?
Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
As far as I know compared to DAT it's faster, more reliable and lasts longer. But note, they're pretty expensive...
Just curious,
have you considered disk backup?
It's much faster, and with the options of dataport or USB,
it can also be used for offsite backup copies.
Depending on your need for archived copies, it may
be worth taking a look considering the price/capacitity

Cheers, Bjorn
You could look at DDS4 and maintain backward compatability with your DDS3 tapes. DDS4 has 20GB native capacity, so on your mix of files, if you extrapolate that 17 of 24 compression ration of 1.4 you'd get 20*1.4 or about 28 gig for $400-600.

A DLT80 will double that capactiy and can be had for about $1000. Tapes run about $35 on a good day.

DDS4 drives are rated 2.4MB/sec data transfer rates
DLT80 drives are rated 6MB/sec per second

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Tom FI.T. and Support Staff ManagerAuthor Commented:
bjorndahlen, I assume you're simply talking about an external USB hdd?  For some reason I just never thought of that.  It sounds like an inexpensive alternative to tapes - but why isn't it used for that purpose more frequently?

Chicagoan and LucF thanks for all your input.  I'll probably be adding and splitting the points on this one.
Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
>but why isn't it used for that purpose more frequently?
=> One expensive tape drive can store a lot of inexpensive reliable tapes
=> One inexpensive drive bay can store a lot of expensive harddrives
so it depends on the amount of tapes/disks you want to use and the amount of data you're having wich is cheaper, but for backups, I always use tapes because you can carry them around easely (shaking them doesn't damage anything) and they're much smaller most of the time.

Tom FI.T. and Support Staff ManagerAuthor Commented:
Makes sense.  Thanks for the opinions and help.  Everyone was useful.
Something to consider is wheather your Backup Software is doing the compression or not.  Some backup programs do not compress everything.  Some do this by file types, others by file sizes, and am sure many more criteria.  Some backup softwares you can change that to compress all files, some files, or none.  Might be worth a look.  You may also want to look at your Tape Backup SOftware documentation about letting the backup program do compression.  SOme backup software that is capable of doing compression likes and recommends that the "hardware" compression of the tape drive be disabled if using the software compression.  Check your tape backup software for any settings that may be limiting your backups to the approx. 17GB you mentioned.  It is possible that you have plenty of room left on the tape but the software just reached an imposed limit. If you are currently using software compression, shut it off and turn on hardware compression to see if that makes any gains for you.

Good Luck
Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Glad to help
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