One tape a week vs 5 tapes a week

Posted on 2005-04-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
We currently have two tape drives that can store 10GB of data uncompressed - we have reached a point where we are over the 20GB marker.  We use 3 sets of tapes - 1 tape for each workday.  We are looking into upgrading the backup system by replacing the ones we have with one new bigger tapedrive.  We are looking into getting a Sony AIT3 backup drive that stores 100GB uncompressed (260 compressed) of data.  The reason we're going this big is because we anticipate growth that would require this kind of storage.

In the meanwhile is it possible or recommended that we get 3 of these backup tapes (one for each week) and store different backups on each tape.  To be more specific, I would place one tape in the drive on monday, have the backups stored on that tape (incremental) for the entire week.  In other words, append the data on the tape with the most recent information - I know this is possible - but is there any solution that will allow you to restore data from a specific date from the one tape.  Also, is this type of backup recommended?  

Even more interesting, is it at all possible to create seperate backups on the tape drive - so they look and act like seperate tapes.  This way I could essentialy select a date to restore from and instead of it pointing to the Wednesday tape I could just restore it from the Wednesday portion on the one tape.
Question by:wreyniers
LVL 13

Accepted Solution

Caseybea earned 500 total points
ID: 13888734
First , I will respond to: "Also, is this type of backup recommended?".

The primary purpose of backups is disaster recovery.   In that light, leaving the (incremental) tape in the drive all week long is, in my OPINION, a simply bad idea.    What if there's a fire or...? and the tape also gets damaged?    On Thursday?   Everything backed up that week is history.    But if the tapes are (properly) stored off-site, then you're covered.     Yes, using more tapes is expensive, but expense for media really shouldn't play into what you're trying to do.    (AGain - this is wholly a matter of my opinion- I am PARANOID about backups- it's my job).

To answer the other questions requires knowledge of the backup software you're using- which you did not mention.    Can it be done? (multiple backups on ONE tape)?   Certainly-  but this is a function of the software you're using.    For example, Unix systems and standard tape dumps-  yup.     Microsoft "backup" ?   I don't think so.      The documentation with your backup software tool should cover this...

Author Comment

ID: 13888918
I use Veritas Backup Exec 10.

Thanks for the input - I figured it wouldn't be a very disaster proof situation.  It would be a temporary budgetary decision.
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 13889017
Regardless of the type of backup (full, diff, incr.) a different tape should be used for each day. This is not a place to be cheap.

I don't like incr. backups because you have to go back and restore each day's backup from the last full in order to bring the system back. Go for either Full or Diff.

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Expert Comment

ID: 13889380
I use a rotation of 10 tapes. I have Monday-Thursday tapes, and Friday 1-6. I rotate the tapes every day with a full backup, and rotate through the Friday tapes 1,2,3,4,5,6. So at any time (say today thurday) i can go back wed, tues,mon,last friday, last thursday, friday before that,friday before that,friday before that,friday before that,friday before that. Its good when people overwrite files and dont notice till days later, i can go back more than a month. I also offline all tapes used on the end of a quarter. Keeps older tapes out of rotation, and allow us to go back 3 months at a time for years. Tapes are cheap, losing data isnt!
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 13889552
I absolutely back Casey's and Dovid's views on using different tapes, it really isn't that much more expensive to get a couple of tapes more. What I also suggest is not to go for sony's ait technology. Although the system itself may be good, ait's are as far as I know only being produced by sony itself. Sony in my opinion is OK if you want some consumer electronics, but when it comes to IT equipment and in particular if you happen to need some support after sales, sony is just about the worst company you can find.
So my suggestion is, get anything but sony. LTO would be a good alternative. Ask Casey, I think he has experiance using LOT's.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 13890228
LOT's?   Ha!  I love it when threads cross.    

Seriously--   budgetary or not, find a way to get more tapes and use one a day, and keep them offsite.

Author Comment

ID: 13891328
I really do appreciate the input.  I actually took your advice to the owner and along with my own personal recommendations they have decided to dish out some extra on tapes.  I have decided on the Seagate Viper 200 External LTO Tape Drive (STU62001LW-SS) as the drive.  


The tapes are a bit cheaper and according to what Rindi said - I'm not getting a Sony and that's good.

I think you all deserve some credit... so don't mind me if I split it.

Author Comment

ID: 13891343
Oops, I guess you can't split the credits.

Moderator, if you can do this - give split the credits between to Caseybea and Rindi - their replies seem to have been the most poignant for my managers.

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