Is USB 3.0 & Firewire 800 IO throughputs comparable to LTO4 tape drives / library


Assuming that network throughputs (with teaming/bonding/link aggregation
of links of gigabit NICs & switch ports) is not the bottleneck, would a USB
3.0 or Firewire 800 port on a high-end server provide throughputs that is
comparable or close to an LTO4 tape drive (say Quantum's LTO4 tape drive) ?

If it's not close, is USB 3.0's throughputs at least half that of the LTO4's ?

Curious if the age of performing backup via USB 3.0 external HDDs has arrived?
sunhuxAsked:
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Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
Tape is for keepin snapshots in time and archiving them. Disk is for backups.
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CallandorCommented:
USB 3.0 is rated at 4.8 gigabits per sec, and the LTO4 is rated at a maximum of 240MB/sec, or 1.92 gigabits per sec.  I'd say USB 3.0 exceeds the LTO4 by a large margin.  Firewire800 is only 800 megabits per sec, which is slower than LTO4.
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Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
That's the theoretical max. IRL USB 3 harddrives get about 80MB/sec. That's not including compression. I'm not sure of the real speed of lto 4
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CallandorCommented:
Yes, it would be the same case if one were using eSATA - the interface limit exceeds the hard disk throughput by a lot.  In theory, one could maximize the interface by using an SSD, but that would not be practical in cost or capacity.
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andyalderCommented:
Not so sure about the "large margin" since you have to be able to supply the tape drive with data at three times its native speed to allow for compression if you really want it to run at peak performance. That's pretty hard to do which is why there is data rate matching to slow the tape down to try to match how fast you can read your data. They could make tape run faster of course, not by increasing the mechanical speed but by adding more read/write elements in the head just like PCIe uses multiple lanes to increase the speed. That's already done of course but it wouldn't be sensible to make the drive 10 tomes faster than the bus.

USB's not the interface of choice though whatever 2.0 or 3.0 clock speed increases it can take since it's a cheap consumer grade protocol. You want better quality wires than something you can buy in wallmart.

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sunhuxAuthor Commented:

> In reality, USB 3 harddrives get about 80MB/sec
What if the USB 3's harddrive is a 7200rpm drive?  Will this increase the
real-life throughputs beyond 80MB/sec (I suppose it's Megabytes & not
Megabits as 1 byte=8 bits)

> using eSATA - the interface limit exceeds the hard disk throughput by a lot
I've seen a Hitachi SATA HDD being published as having 6Gbps throughput
so wouldn't this exceed the eSATA interface limit?
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CallandorCommented:
The reality is that a 7200rpm hard disk with today's technology will have a maximum sustained transfer rate of under 100 MB/sec (or 800 megabits/sec).  No matter how much faster the interface is, this will be the limiting factor.  10,000rpm and 15,000 rpm drives will be higher, as will RAID arrays and SSDs.
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Gerald ConnollyCommented:
As the others have pointed out you are confusing max Theoretical bus speed (USB and Firewire) with device speeds (LTO)

When using disk for backup, you would normally use a RAID controller to overcome some of the limitations (mainly speed) of a single disk, but if you are thinking about using USB or Firewire, i don't know of any RAID controllers that use those buses as a front end interface, so you would be limited to a single disk and as has been said already you are looking at 80-100MB/s, whereas the LTO-4 drive will do 120MB/s Native and obviously better with compression, and of course a LTO-5 will do better. In fact a lot of systems cannot even drive a LTO-4 ats its minimum speed - approx 40MB/s
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
excellent
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