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Backup To Disk Or Tape


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I've got a Veeam Backup Server running win server 2008 r2 with Veeam backup and replication.

Currently backups are saved to local disk on that machine. I'd like to have some physical media to carry off site. Currently the Executives want me to do TAPE backups but that solution for a SAS card and tape loader is going to be around $7k for a G2 LTO4 Ultr 1760 with 8 tapes, cleaning cart etc. I'm thinking a SAS card on my Dell T610 connected to some SAS back plane with SAS drives would be cheaper and faster. I just feel tapes are an archaic way to do backup for physical carry off site.

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I do backups on external HDDs at home. I have a daily backup that is always hooked up to the machine and a monthly backup that is stored in a fire safe.

The company I work for uses 8mm tapes (i think) for the daily and weekly backups. I don't think they have that much to backup, since all they do backup is the AS/400. I don't think any user data is backed up (way to go company!)

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I've got a Veeam Backup Server running win server 2008 r2 with Veeam backup and replication.

Currently backups are saved to local disk on that machine. I'd like to have some physical media to carry off site. Currently the Executives want me to do TAPE backups but that solution for a SAS card and tape loader is going to be around $7k for a G2 LTO4 Ultr 1760 with 8 tapes, cleaning cart etc. I'm thinking a SAS card on my Dell T610 connected to some SAS back plane with SAS drives would be cheaper and faster. I just feel tapes are an archaic way to do backup for physical carry off site.

tape deteriorates does it not? If im correct then i would go with the drives

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That's why you rotate the tapes.

just seems like a massive waste of time to me

edit:

then again i dont have a lot of knowledge on the pros and cons of using tape other than not having seen the media in years

Edited by RogueHart
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Tape is simply cheaper at the enterprise level, you can get a 800/1600 tape for £30 a pop, where as a 1TB enterprise disk costs £130. I have a Dell PowerVault TL2000 LTO4 with 35x 800/1600GB tapes, which are used to store weekly and monthly backups for the file server, SQL server, Exchange and some critical VM's. Daily backups are store on a Sun Fire X4540.

To me, tapes are cheaper for offline backups, easier to store off site and more reliable. Online backups are great, but to maintain several months worth of full, weekly backups for 2TB of files online is going to cost more than a tape drive. So use both, store your incremental and differential backups online, your full backups offline and use shadow copies for when a file is deleted or overwritten.

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HDD's are cheap, but Tapes in bulk are cheaper, last longer than HDD's, and are easier to recover data from if they break. Try getting your inportant info off a dead HDD. Broken tape? They have kits to fix them, which we used at work all the time for our 3480/3590 IBM cartridges. Surprisingly, We've had most tapes in our library for over 15 years with no problems. I don't think HDD's would last that long without failure at some point from pulling and offsiting them over time and time again. Transporting and storing HDD's would be a bit more sensitive than with a tape cartridge. Especially when offsite companies toss their carry cases like yesterdays trash, half the cases we used were dented, bent, and sometimes replaced all together because the boxes would break at the hinges. Not something you want to send out a bunch of HDD's in. Tapes are pretty resilient. And try dropping a HDD several times. It happens all the time with tapes, not something you would want to try with a HDD.

Edited by digip
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HDD's are cheap, but Tapes in bulk are cheaper, last longer than HDD's, and are easier to recover data from if they break. Try getting your inportant info off a dead HDD. Broken tape? They have kits to fix them, which we used at work all the time for our 3480/3590 IBM cartridges. Surprisingly, We've had most tapes in our library for over 15 years with no problems. I don't think HDD's would last that long without failure at some point from pulling and offsiting them over time and time again. Transporting and storing HDD's would be a bit more sensitive than with a tape cartridge. Especially when offsite companies toss their carry cases like yesterdays trash, half the cases we used were dented, bent, and sometimes replaced all together because the boxes would break at the hinges. Not something you want to send out a bunch of HDD's in. Tapes are pretty resilient. And try dropping a HDD several times. It happens all the time with tapes, not something you would want to try with a HDD.

How about blue rays Disks, I know they cost quite a lot and its size can vary from 25gb to 50gb, would they make a good medium for back ups or not worth at all. Just wondering what you guys think.

Edited by Infiltrator
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How about blue rays Disks, I know they cost quite a lot and its size can vary from 25gb to 50gb, would they make a good medium for back ups or not worth at all. Just wondering what you guys think.

Only if you need 1 time writes. I dont trust optical media for anythign other than music and movies. For data I need to have backed up permanently, HDD or Tape.

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Only if you need 1 time writes. I dont trust optical media for anythign other than music and movies. For data I need to have backed up permanently, HDD or Tape.

CDs have a tendency of failing sometimes, so back up tapes makes perfect sense.

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  • 4 weeks later...
We were a sata dock with 1tb sata drives. It works wonderfully.

Not bad at all, but I would go with a 1TB raid 5 dock. It gives you security against one HDD failure, I know it should not be enterilly relied upon for data protection. But its a step towards protecting it.

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Personally I hate tapes. I've had a great experience so far with RD1000 drives. They're basically rugged 2.5 esata drives.

The way I look at it, is if the RD1000 breaks, I can always just plug Esata up and start my recovery. Tapes feels so ancient at times. It may help to know how much data and redundancy you're backing up.

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  • 1 month later...

Tapes are a good idea if your taking the data offsite frequently as they are less likely to be damaged in transit. The drawback being that a full restore from a tape will typically take longer than hard disc due to the linear fashion in which the data is stored (on the tape).

Tape is cheap, easy to use and easy to transport IMHO.

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I deal with a variety of HP and IBM tape units, using both Arcserve and Arkeia as a backup solution. Most of our clients in fact demand tape backups to be taken. Online or offline dsk>disk backups are done of each environment after each business day and stored on a dedicated backup volume, before being put to tape overnight. Next day the tapes go off to a secure facility to be held, and brought back at a later date as part of a 2 week rotation. We also employ the common policy of archiving monthly, quarterly and bi-annual tapes for selected clients.

Disk backups are also taken pre and post to environment upgrades, often set aside for some set period of time should disk space allow it etc... so in the case of a catastrophic failure you can restore much faster than a tape, and not have to pay the extortionate fee of having the tape couriered back on-demand from the off-site location.

So, essentially you end up with a good amout of redundancy between having the D2D backup on the SAN and the tape backup that is archived.

Edited by nykon
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I deal with a variety of HP and IBM tape units, using both Arcserve and Arkeia as a backup solution. Most of our clients in fact demand tape backups to be taken. Online or offline dsk>disk backups are done of each environment after each business day and stored on a dedicated backup volume, before being put to tape overnight. Next day the tapes go off to a secure facility to be held, and brought back at a later date as part of a 2 week rotation. We also employ the common policy of archiving monthly, quarterly and bi-annual tapes for selected clients.

Disk backups are also taken pre and post to environment upgrades, often set aside for some set period of time should disk space allow it etc... so in the case of a catastrophic failure you can restore much faster than a tape, and not have to pay the extortionate fee of having the tape couriered back on-demand from the off-site location.

So, essentially you end up with a good amout of redundancy between having the D2D backup on the SAN and the tape backup that is archived.

Implementing redundancy is always beneficial and vital for both the client and the vendor as it gives you more peace of mind in a catastrophic event. But back up tapes are still a must, hard drives should never be entirely relied upon for data protection.

Edited by Infiltrator
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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 month later...

We use these... MB448SR-B 2.5" SATA Hard Drive Mobile Rack for 3.5" Device Bay

Get a few of those (for however many days rotations you want), get laptop drives to fill them (pretty cheap on newegg nowadays), mount it right in your backup server and connect it to a hot-swap compatible sata port. Then configure your backup software to archive to, or create a script to simply copy to, or whatever.

We've used these on many small business servers using symantec backup exec or backup exec system recovery with general overall success for many years now.

Thanks.

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HDD's = Fast recovery

Tapes = Long Life and easy to get off site.

I do both I cant standing waiting on the tapes to mount. Currently using HP LTO4's 48 in one unit and 24 in another along with 8mm Sun for another system. They make for a good year end as moving an entire array of disk would be a pain and lets say your company has a requirement that you need to keep them for X number of years disk is hard. Having disk in the same physical location is bad btw fire/water/ dude tripping over the power cord and all servers in the same spot well backup's don't help much when your hardware is gone. "Maybe not not so much the power cable that just happened to me the other day"

As a maybe run VSS on your servers with a small disk backup on another that runs at night and a small LTO3/4 unit to get the media off site? A tad expensive but will allow for quick recovery and also gives you a annual media to fall back on in case of disaster to the building. Having all disk unless OFF SITE would be a pointless solution IMHO.

Its mandatory for me to keep stuff for 6 years at the least. :)

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  • 1 month later...

At old place of work that was a government run organisation we used tape backups for daily, weekly and monthly backup. Tapes were kept off site or one site but in a different fire zone in a fire proof safe. I was the chump that had to put the tapes in every day and then back to the safe. In all that time I dropped those tapes at least a dozen times (attempting to carry around 12 tapes without anything to carry them in). They survived, I don't think HDDs would of :)

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