Tape Drive Replacement

Hey guys,

We have a client of ours who still wants to physically take some data home every week. They have a tape drive, but are looking to get rid of it. What can i offer them as a replacement?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Not having tapes makes life more difficult.

You can have a series of USB Hard Drives of adequate capacity.  Label them by day. Backup up overnight, disconnect the drive, take it home, and rotate it like that. Back up what you need (apparently not everything) and work out a schedule for taking drives home.

I would not use CD's as I would be concerned about damage.
Cobra25Author Commented:
John, we are moving to a rack mounted server, any options for Tapes?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
For one client I have, we use a rack mounted tape drive. We have two drives for two servers and use LTO6 tapes. It works quite well. Quantam drives I believe but I would have to check.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Here is the Tape Drive:  

Quantum LTO-6 Half-Height Model C - LTO-6 - 2.50 TB (Native)/6.25 TB (Compressed) - SAS1/2H Height - 1U Rack Height - Rack-mountable - Linear Serpentine  Part number TC-L62GN-BR-C

I hope that helps.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I replaced a "moving USB hard drive" approach where drives were being taken home or to another office - which I viewed as a real nuisance for the user doing the moving around.

In this case we had MPLS links between offices (there are 3 sites).  
So, instead of moving the USB hard drives, I created identical backups at each site and now we leave the hard drives alone in place.

You could do something similar with Dropbox if you don't have MPLS links.
Just create physical backups at each site of everything being backed up.  Then you have geographic diversity and don't rely on cloud services except for communication from site to site.  That is, you put the data "up" on Dropbox and then pull it down to a local store.

One approach would be:
Backup everything at site 1 into a folder.
Send the folder up to Dropbox or your favorite site in the cloud.
Bring everything from site 1 down from the cloud onto a hard drive at site 2.
and vice versa if you like....
NinjaStyle82Systems AdministratorCommented:
Wow these are convoluted suggestions. I think look into copying data offsite to cloud storage like amazon glacier.

How much Data are you talking about?  If it's under 8 GB, you can get 2 of the USB 3.0  8 GB, 6 GB, 5 GB, 4 GB, etc.. external drives and take one home every week and swap them.  That's inexpensive and holds quite a bit of data.

Don't use Dropbox.  It's horribly insecure.  Use any of the other services.  I would only use it to store data that I normally share to the world already, such as a public facing website.

I would consider Amazon S3 over glacier, depending on what you want stored.  You would probably want to set tiers and put older stuff onto glacier and keep newer stuff on S3.
Cobra25Author Commented:
Guys no Cloud will work. I said physical.
I'll prob just go with a NAS and 2TB external hdd or something.
NinjaStyle82Systems AdministratorCommented:
If the data wont grow a lot a cheap NAS is probably fine. Tapes are cheap though, and can offer a longer retention usually.
Cobra25Author Commented:
the problem with tape maybe now, is that there is no open sas slots on the server. So im not sure how i can even connect it.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You need to add a High Speed Bus Adapter card to the server.
Cobra25Author Commented:
John, thats what i meant, no open HBA slots avail.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
What kind of server? We have done this for two Lenovo servers now.
NinjaStyle82Systems AdministratorCommented:
so there isn't an external tape library device? its in an internal bay? Maybe they would invest in a tape library?
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
Please note that I wasn't suggesting permanent cloud storage.  Rather, local sites physical storage.

Interesting comments about cloud services.  I'd suggest that anything you decide to use should meet your requirements.  And, I'd take comments like this seriously.

My point was really this:
*There is no need to move media around physically *if* you have communications that are adequate for your needs*
Part of being "adequate to your needs" is that you don't have to back up *all* the data every time.
The programs I use (e.g. SecondCopy8), determine what needs to be backed up before doing any backups; and then it backs up anything new or changed.  This cuts down drastically on the amount of data that's transferred at any one time.

The use of the cloud or any other mechanism for this communication doesn't seem convolved to me.  That is, unless one is confused by having an interim storage mechanism that's in the cloud.
The idea was localized, physical backups that are under your control.
Isn't that what you wanted?

And, my assumption is that *fully automated* is good.  No manual operations needed and no human intervention required.

Also, just to add to the discussion about automation:
There are plenty of reasons why backups fail.  Some are obvious and some are more subtle.
I want to know when failures occur.  So, I have the backup program send me an email (to a particular address) for each backup job.  And, I have the email client move them into their own folders and tag the failures.
That way I can see that the correct number of backups occurred and which ones that did occur had failures or warnings.
I review nearly 100 backup jobs daily and it takes but a couple of minutes to do it.
I would get the 2 TB portable 2.5 inch disks, if you're going with only 2 TB.  You don't have to plug in extra power with those.

If you actually have more data, you might want to get the 8TB 3.5 inch external drive.  They're only $257 now.  I wouldn't do a daily swap of disks.  It makes more sense to load up a week of data and dedupe or snapshot it and swap the disks every weekend.  You might get additional disks for longer term storage and keep multiple weeks of data off site and rotate the oldest one back in.

It doesn't matter what backups you make, you still need to periodically test restores.  You don't need to do a full restore on every test, just random file restores should be fine.  I've seen people review backups logs and never actually do a test restore.  Then one day, when they have to actually restore data, it doesn't  work.  The logs may show a backup, but it may not be there or it became corrupt afterwards.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If you cannot connect a tape drive and do not wish to engage in additional expense to do so, then a series of USB Hard Drives will do the trick here.
Gerald ConnollyCommented:
If you have to go down the physical device route with USB, make sure you dont physically end up connecting cables everytime to your system and the device as the number of connection events is limited (its down to the thickness of the gold plating on the connector)
Always use short tails on either end that are semi-permanent and can be changed on a regular basis ie once a year and you should then maintain a reliable connection between the system and the device.
Cobra25Author Commented:
How about the dell rd1000 solution?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
It would probably work just fine for you.


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Cobra25Author Commented:
Awesome, do you know if they have a rack mount version?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
That device is not rack mount. Quantum drives ARE rack mount. We discussed these earlier.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@Cobra25  - Thanks and I was happy to help.
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