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What Backup Tape Drive To Use


Infiltrator
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Hi,

What type/model of backup tape drives, does the community use to protect their data? I've been looking at so many brands, like HP, Iomega and Dell and I am not sure which one to buy.

Can anyone recommend a good and reliable backup tape drive that I can buy? Or even the one you use in your server room.

Thank you in advance.

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We use a Dell unit that uses Ultrium LTO 3 tapes. It is getting a bit old now but has worked perfectly for over 3 years.

The main reason to use tapes is that it is traditionally a lot faster to write to them than a USB device and if you have a large set of data to be backed up, then it is important to be able to write the backup in a reasonable length of time.

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I now use 4 TB USB drives in weekly rotation to backup, any specific reason to use tape?

I have a NAS box configured in a Raid 5 mode. Plus I am planning on buying another NAS that does raid 6 just for that extra redundancy. But as we all know, we have to be prepared in the unlikely event of a hardware failure.

We all know hard drives, are getting larger and smarter but loosing all that data, would be catastrophic and hard drives do fail. I just want to be prepared for that event. I know for a home network, its like an overkill but I just want to stay on the safe side.

It may cost less to buy hard drives than tapes and backup tapes do offer some peace of mind.

I only want to use backup tapes, for backing up the important stuff, like family vidoes, photos and documents. Other files like music or tv shows are less important, and I can always download them.

Edited by Infiltrator
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I only want to use backup tapes, for backing up the important stuff, like family vidoes, photos and documents. Other files like music or tv shows are less important, and I can always download them.

The other thing you need to consider is where you will store your backup tapes. If you have a safety deposit box then that is a very good place to keep them as it is out of your house. If you work in an office and have a draw that you can keep locked and you trust the other people in your office then that can also be a reasonable place to keep them.

If you haven't anywhere secure out of your house to store them then you may want to consider looking into fire safes, as a house fire is the sort of disaster that will easily destroy your computers and NAS boxes. Which is when you will really want to be able to get hold of the data you have backed up (especially if it has a list of equipment, the fire destroyed, that you want the insurance company to replace).

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Where I used to work, we had tapes that we used on our IBM 3480 and 3590 drive systems. Unless a tape physically broke, or the drive malfunctioned and destroyed it, they lasted well over 12 years, with the occasional adds to the library when they did fail. They are sturdy, can usually take a drop on the floor with no issue, and make things fast to backup. They were nice because we also used offsite backup for daily cycle work that went in a metal case and picked up by a company that rotated them on a daily basis for us. I wouldn't want to have HDD's sent offsite for 1, fear of damage in transit(these cases were beat to hell and replaced often, although the tapes lasted for years) and 2, someone stealing them to pull data off of. With proprietary systems like the IBM 3480 and 3590, it makes it a bit more difficult for someone to steal them and get data off of them(even though all offsite stuff was encrypted anyway). They would need the same physical drive setup to mount and read them unlike just plugging in a HDD and placing it into a workstation.

In my years with them, none of our desktop machines lasted as long as the tapes themselves did.

Edited by digip
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The other thing you need to consider is where you will store your backup tapes. If you have a safety deposit box then that is a very good place to keep them as it is out of your house. If you work in an office and have a draw that you can keep locked and you trust the other people in your office then that can also be a reasonable place to keep them.

If you haven't anywhere secure out of your house to store them then you may want to consider looking into fire safes, as a house fire is the sort of disaster that will easily destroy your computers and NAS boxes. Which is when you will really want to be able to get hold of the data you have backed up (especially if it has a list of equipment, the fire destroyed, that you want the insurance company to replace).

Unfortunately I do not have any safe place where I can keep the backup tapes. I may look into buying a fire safe and keep it chained somewhere in my house.

Secondly, would you guys recommend backing up your data to a cloud? I know there are several downsides for storing your data away on a cloud, like using your internet quota every time you upload/download your data.

This downside can become costly and time consuming because of the internet connection speeds and also on the plan you choose with the cloud, unless there is an open service that offers massive amounts of storage for free of charge.

What are you thoughts on this matter.

Edited by Infiltrator
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If you have the bandwidth, the cloud works fine, just takes long for the initial backup, but there are services that keep things synced, so you aren't doing large dumps every day, just little pieces throughout the day once the main stuff is backed up. The downsides are, 1, bandwidth costs depending on your account with your ISP, 2 security. Most services are encrypted end to end, but that doesn't mean there wont ever be a breach of their network itself, and all its customers database info. Just look at Gizmodo's recent breach and you wonder, should I put all that into the cloud, or just keep the old faithful and store locally. Offsite backup solutions are generally a good idea, but personally I would go with physical offsite backups, and stay out of the cloud but thats just my paranoia. If this is a home solution, an encrypted HDD sent to another family members house is always a good idea as well.

Watch this video, kind of drives home the need for offsite backups, although he was able to retrieve his machine a few years later:

Edited by digip
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If you have the bandwidth, the cloud works fine, just takes long for the initial backup, but there are services that keep things synced, so you aren't doing large dumps every day, just little pieces throughout the day once the main stuff is backed up. The downsides are, 1, bandwidth costs depending on your account with your ISP, 2 security. Most services are encrypted end to end, but that doesn't mean there wont ever be a breach of their network itself, and all its customers database info. Just look at Gizmodo's recent breach and you wonder, should I put all that into the cloud, or just keep the old faithful and store locally. Offsite backup solutions are generally a good idea, but personally I would go with physical offsite backups, and stay out of the cloud but thats just my paranoia. If this is a home solution, an encrypted HDD sent to another family members house is always a good idea as well.

I pay $100.00 dollars for my internet and that gives me a total of 200GB of download, every time I exceed that quota I have to buy additional data blocks which can be quite costly. And on a security note, I would hate to see someone snooping on my data, its like inviting a stranger into your home and disclosing all your personal information.

Edited by Infiltrator
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