Best Tape drive / backup device for new server

Posted on 2008-10-02
Last Modified: 2013-11-14

I'm looking for some advice on the best backup drive solution for our new SBS 2003 R2 server.
I have compared the options and the best seem to be either an LTO 200GB internal drive, or the new Iomega REV 120GB USB drive.
Currently we have an SBS 2000 server with a Sony AIT-1 35GB drive that has been very good, but the AIT drives and tapes are very expensive for the level of storage they provide.

What are others opinions? I am looking to spend no more than about £600 on the drive and tapes.
Would like around 100-250GB capacity and a really good speed is also important, for both backup and also restoration.

It would also be nice to have the option of an external drive that in an emergency we could transport to a PC and restore the data.
Otherwise it would depend on the server 100% in case of disaster.
Is USB not a good choice? I was warned that the REV drive is better in the SATA version.

We currently do a very extreme backup of 5 tapes (daily) and 3 monthly. Also a seperate one every 3 months for the O.S drive.
Are there any recommendations on the backup schedule also? I believe as SBS 2003 has a new feature "Shadow Copy" that our backup
may be overkill and we could get away with 5 tapes (daily) and just 1 monthly tape. Is this reasonable?

Thanks a lot,
Question by:chrismanncalgavin
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Accepted Solution

ormerodrutter earned 125 total points
ID: 22624527
Depending on the capacity you are after backup tapes would be around £25 each (for 160/320Gb). In terms of drive we are using HP STorageWorks, which has been really good (so far). We recently purpased a Freecom that use DLT-V4 tapes. ITs ok but is a bit noisy.

In terms of schedule, you can't rely on Showdow Copies becasue if your server goes, that goes with it. The usual way is to use 5 daily tapes, we do a bit further as we use 4 daily tapes but keep each friday separate. The tape we used at the end of each month would be taken out from the cycle and store offsite. Remember to store the backup tapes offsite.

Author Comment

ID: 22624757

What type of HP Storageworks drive is it you are referring to as there are numerous types?
What do people think of LTO / AIT / REV drives in comparison?

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 22624884
It was DAT72 but they have high capacity.
Best Practices: Disaster Recovery Testing

Besides backup, any IT division should have a disaster recovery plan. You will find a few tips below relating to the development of such a plan and to what issues one should pay special attention in the course of backup planning.

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 22624887
we actually have TWO of them
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

TapeDude earned 125 total points
ID: 22625709
I'm hesitant to weigh in on this as I don't have any direct experience of Iomega's rev. But I do know from past experience that I wouldn't trust Iomega storage products with anything important. I'm sorry, they may have cleaned up their act by now, but twice bitten, thrice shy.

The first few generations of AIT were based on the same 8mm mechanism that was used by Exabyte and it's not wildly reliable, either. I run a data recovery bureau and I've had too many of these go bad to recommend them. You'll notice that Sony are no longer using the 8mm spool mechanism in their latest AIT drives - that should tell you something. It also means that if you buy one of their later generation AIT drives you won't be able to read any of your old tapes. Obviously, that would be the case if you were to buy a non-AIT solution, too.

IMHO, LTO or SDLT would be your best option but avoid any half-height drives. They're aimed at the SOHO market and just aren't built to the same spec as the full height models. If you can afford an LTO 3, I'd get one of those - they're more expensive, but have greater capacity, are faster, the media are proportionately cheaper than LTO2 which is end-of-life, and they're variable speed, which means less wear to the tapes if your server can't keep up with the tape throughput. If you're not in a hurry, and you keep an eye on eBay, you should be able to pick one up for around £600 new. Don't forget to get an appropriate SCSI adapter for your drive - you don't want to be hanging a U320 device off an old U2 controller.

Author Comment

ID: 22840382
I got a Freecom/HP Ultrium 200GB LTO-2 drive in the end.
Seems good so far.

Thanks for the comments.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31502394
Good comments, some interesting views.
Would have liked to see some users of a REV drive just to get an idea!

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