[Nottingham] Re: Tape Backup Systems

James Gibbon jg at jamesgibbon.com
Sat Apr 12 19:01:58 BST 2008

On Fri, 11 Apr 2008 14:58:34 +0100
Michael Simms <michael at tuxgames.com> wrote:

> The question I have these days is - WHY would anyone use a tape drive
> any more!
> Use a hard drive, its quicker, its cheaper, you dont have to keep
> remembering to change tapes. If you need to have offsite, just put
> things onto a USB stick which is faster and cheaper than buying all
> those tapes.

Agree with what you say for relatively modest backup requirements, but
despite its faults tape can be a bit more flexible in some circumstances.

For my sins, I look after about 5-6TB of stuff that needs to be backed up,
and I use an LTO tape drive / autochanger as well as hard disk.

I could use hard disk space to the same capacity as the tape cartridge,
but I'd lose some of the options that the tape changer gives me. I can 
archive stuff to tape then take it out of the backup schedules, for
example, without the archive taking up space on a disk or in the online
tape library. I can keep the backups remote much more easily than 
squirting it over a network, for volumes of data that are too much for a
USB stick. And I can expand the available space as and when just by buying
tapes, albeit not without the necessity to change them from time to time.

One big advantage that hard disk backups have over tape is that you can
get files back very quickly, and I do use rsync and external firewire
drives as well - although that's as much to avoid using the network for
backing up big chunks of data as anything else.

> Personally I simply backup using rsync to a remote server. It does a
> good job of backing up about 50GB of data at low bandwidthes and
> requires NO human interaction, it just does it for me and I dont have to
> care or remember to change tapes/discs/sticks. Remote servers arent
> cheap I agree but Im sure that the LUG could set up something like a
> backup ring where 2 people offer each other accounts on each others
> systems and you backup to each others machines, giving offsite backup to
> both at no cost...

Good idea for low volumes, and you could easily encrypt your backups 
if needed before transmitting offsite.


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