[geeks] tape backup, revisited
Sheldon T. Hall
shel at tandem.artell.net
Sun Jun 17 11:15:16 CDT 2007
Saith Sridhar Ayengar ...
> Phil Brutsche wrote:
> > One of those drives could buy 4TB of storage.
> > Of course, you could find an LTO-2 drive on eBay, but if
> > you're data is
> > important enough to you to make backups you may not want to
> > tempt fate
> > with a used tape drive ;)
> I suppose YMMV.
> I've been using ebay-sourced tape drives for years without
> any trouble.
Since DLT drives and friends are Genuine Enterprise Big Data Center Serious
Stuff, they get surplused long before they are worn out. They get outgrown,
or depreciated, or downsized, or something. I dunno what the corpspeak
terms are anymore. In any case, the end result is that lots and lots of
recent DLT gear makes it into the used market is very usable shape.
I've obtained about a dozen DLT drives over the past 5 years via eBay (top
price paid, $50 incl shipping), local computer surplus stores (top price
paid $10), and other, even cheaper, sources. I've tested all the drives,
and only one has actually been faulty.
Tapes acquired this way have been OK, too. I've had about a 5% failure rate
on used tapes. Better yet, the same places that surplus lightly-used drives
when they upgrade often surplus masses of new tapes that go with those older
drives, so often new tapes are available for pennies on the dollar, too.
DLT drives are mechanically pretty complex, but they seem to be extremely
well built. Aside from the one dud junk-store drive I bought, I've had no
drive problems at all. A couple (out of about 100) tapes have been bad, or
gone bad. Yes, I do test that the tapes are readable once written. I used
to use DDS, after all.
I don't have massive data storage needs. My 40GB (compressed) DLT drives
are bigger than my largest filesystem, so running a tape or two every night
gives me multiple recent backups of everything.
I like DLT a lot.
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