Tape Drive Question


I'm looking into a tape drive for long-term storage.  I'm very interested in a tape cartridge type that will be around for awhile.  I still have SyJet cartridges with data I'll never see.

What are my options?
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DDS is proven technology that will be around forever.  Capacity formats will keep changing, as with all tape media.

DAT will also be around for awhile, but seems to be getting displaced by LTO.

LTO is basically the current standard for higher capacity.  Go with this technology if you are looking to back up 100MB+.
PS:  DDS / DAT / 4mm -- all the same "type" of cartridge.
i wouldnt backup with a tapedrive,  not in this day and age. the reason being that they are slowly being phased out by many places and they are relitively slow... i would definitely go with an external hd, dvds(which will last hundreds of years if you dont scratch them) or flash based media
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To evaluate the best solution for backup need a bit of information.
1. What are you wanting to backup (Office Documents, Pst Files, Entire Computers, want to be able to restore a whole system, a server?)
2. What is the rought size in GB of all the data you want backed up
3. How often are there changes in the data
4. How long can you go between restore points (how long can you loose data and still be hapy with a old restore)
5. Lastly what OS platforms will you be dealing with Microsoft OS's?
andyalderSaggar maker's bottom knockerCommented:
If you have a lot of data and want something fast to back it up to then LTO Ultrium is the way to go. 240MB/sec is far faster than you can get with a disk drive but that in itself is a problem because it is far faster than you can read the data off a disk drive. They're certainly long term storage though, something like 60 years guarantee whereas no disk manufacturer guarantees their data availability off-line at all. You can also go for magneto-optical for something like 120 year shelf life.
In spite of all the doom and gloom about how tape drives are dead which has been reported for at least 10 years that I can remember, tape is not dead.

Tape is proven by experience to last 30years and more (when stored properly) and not just theory.

DDS has been around for many years but it is questionable how much longer since it seems to becoming to the end of its life. There used to be a handful of companies making them and now it is down to one.

A problem with hard drives are the changing technology. Know anyone with a 10 or 15 year old hard drive still in service? Even if you had it on the shelf for storage who says you could find a computer and interface to connect it up to. This might not be an issue since USB but who is to say that in 10 years it also might be replaced with something even better.

Bottom line I agree with AndyAlder that LTO is the way to go. There is no doubt in my mind it will be around for many years to come and that backward read compatibility will continue to be maintained.
NigelRocksAuthor Commented:

1.  My personal data includes photos, mp3s, financial data, word documents, etc.  From the business side, it's software programs and audio files.  I was content to only back up my data, but I'm ready to clone my laptop, and possibly my wife's as well.  I would like to be able to restore my system, but I will probably also still maintain data-only backups in other places for redundancy.

2.  To plan for the forseeable future, I'd probably want 500Gb.  

3.  The changes in the data are constant, but usually not major.

4. Losing a week's worth of data is about the most I could deal with.  I'd really rather back the whole thing up every day just in case.

5.    Windows and Apple.
Depending on your budget for the solution, the best Media price for the size of storage will be Hard Drives, unless you got a good sized budget for nice LTO type tapes but the drives alone for LTO are extremly expensive not getting to the tape costs.

The best practice regardless of the Media type that the data is stored on is haveing it in more than one place, or more than one copy.  Cause All magnetic media Tapes, Hard Drives, Zip Disks, etc can fail and or go corrupt.  I would keep an eye out on well priced External HD's or if your comfortable enough buy internal HD's and get a USB Enclosure for them when you want them to be external, and you can hook them up internally if needed.  PATA aka IDE HD's are just fine and everything has PATA connectors even the new stuff.  But like any technology its soon to be phased out by SATA connections.  Newer systems are comeing with only 1 PATA controller and soon none.

Brand wise im sold on Seagate but all HD's can fail regardless of brand name so preferably go with something that has nice reveiws.  Check prices at places like Newegg.com or Tiger.com along with local retailers for HD's.

There are simple copy programs that come with some external drives and i know there are ones online free to download and use.  You set them up and they copy the designated directories and files you select.

For restoring system's its really hard to beat Acronis's backup software but it is somewhat pricy and their home level of software i dont think supports Apple.  But a free and easy solution for the windows based systems is Norton Ghost Image.  I would first get a copy of all your data you couldnt live without if you didnt have it tomorrow.  Then get your systems in the order which you like and get a Ghost Image of them.

One run through copying all your data and geting images of the systems will give you real numbers to the Size and amount of data you have to Backup.  Which will dictate with your budget how often and what you backup.  This also gives you an idea on what size HD's to get, and how to organize your data.  May be cheaper to buy one drive of good size to store the images on, and a separate one of appropriate size to store the Data on.

In addition to Hard Drive Backup depending on the amount of Data not counting system restoration, i would recomend in getting a DVD burner and some DVD-R's and burning and veryfying that the DVD's have working data on them atleast once.  Again the size and amount of data dictaces how much of a headache this is.  Optical media is hard to beat when verified cause aside from physical damage it takes many many many years for them to be unreadable especially when stored in a safe place.

Pairing Optical Media (DVD's) with Magnetic Media (HD"s) should be plenty of redundancy for any budget.  And again if you go solely with HD's for backup i would strongly recomend having 2 copies, cause HD's do fail for many various reasons.  Depending on your systems locations its usually best to keep one copy of the backup data offsite somewhere safe, incase of Fire, Flood, Thieves, Destructive peoples, etc the list goes on.  All to many times ive seen great backup systems fail because it was all at the same location and due to fire, and Water damage, and sabatoge everything was ruined.  Then you get into Data Recovery which isnt cheap.

Sory for the lengthy response but all these are important points in a general backup system.

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