Author Topic: LTO drives: How are they viewed in the computer?  (Read 4384 times)

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Offline XOIIO

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LTO drives: How are they viewed in the computer?
« on: July 07, 2014, 07:02:09 am »
Hey all, I have a dell powervault LTO system, which I'd like to hook up and get using, I just need the right SCSI cable for it I think, I have the terminator so it should just hook right it, right?

I was wondering how they show up in windows, is it like a standard hard drive sort of thing? Pretty much drag and drop files? I imagine it just takes a lot longer than a hard drive to see how much space is used, or check the size of a certain file?

This is my LTO system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9ee4N6_9H48

Also, I was wondering, the system just seems to be used as a loader for the tapes right? I have eight LTO2 tapes with double the storage capacity. would I be able to get an LTO2 SCSI drive, and just swap it out so I can use the better tapes? If not I'd probably sell them to get more LTO tapes, though having the LTO2 ones to use would be great, two and I could back up almost all of my tv shows/movies.

edit: man, LTO2 drives are hard to find, plus people have like, $100 shipping on them, I could buy a whole autoloader for that price plus an extra $50 shipping from a quick glance.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 07:07:44 am by XOIIO »
 

Offline justanothercanuck

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Re: LTO drives: How are the viewed in the computer?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 07:12:12 am »
As far as I know, a tape drive is plug and play just like any other storage device, although they're slower because of read/write and seek times.  I don't know much about the auto-loader types, but I imagine they're along the same lines.  I think the tapes need to have barcode labels on them though so the drive knows which tapes are inserted, although that might be specific to the HP Storageworks machines we have at work, because they can hold something like 14 tapes and have two drives internally.
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Offline XOIIO

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Re: LTO drives: How are the viewed in the computer?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 07:14:00 am »
As far as I know, a tape drive is plug and play just like any other storage device, although they're slower because of read/write and seek times.  I don't know much about the auto-loader types, but I imagine they're along the same lines.  I think the tapes need to have barcode labels on them though so the drive knows which tapes are inserted, although that might be specific to the HP Storageworks machines we have at work, because they can hold something like 14 tapes and have two drives internally.

Mines is a simpler one, just eight holders for drives on a circular track, on ebay I saw one that could hold 14 tapes, that thing is nice lol

Offline justanothercanuck

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Re: LTO drives: How are the viewed in the computer?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 07:23:21 am »
Mines is a simpler one, just eight holders for drives on a circular track, on ebay I saw one that could hold 14 tapes, that thing is nice lol

Ours are something like this: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/AN974A-HP-Storage-MSL8096-4-LTO-4-Ultrium-1840-FC-Tape-Library-/260923153158

Nice piece of kit, out of my price range though.  :-DD

edit: 96 storage slots?  that can't be right... 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 07:28:47 am by justanothercanuck »
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Offline XOIIO

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Re: LTO drives: How are the viewed in the computer?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 07:32:13 am »
Mines is a simpler one, just eight holders for drives on a circular track, on ebay I saw one that could hold 14 tapes, that thing is nice lol

Ours are something like this: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/AN974A-HP-Storage-MSL8096-4-LTO-4-Ultrium-1840-FC-Tape-Library-/260923153158

Nice piece of kit, out of my price range though.  :-DD

edit: 96 storage slots?  that can't be right...

Mmm, fiber.

I have a raid, can't recall the name, but it's a fiber channel raid with I think, 300 Seagate cheetah 300gb hard drives, man I'd love to get that running, but cards and cables are expensive as hell, and apparently these raids are part of friggin massive raid networks that need a "head" unit. I just have it lying in the garage being useless  :-\

Such a waste.

Offline justanothercanuck

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Re: LTO drives: How are the viewed in the computer?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 10:16:58 am »
Mmm, fiber.

I have a raid, can't recall the name, but it's a fiber channel raid with I think, 300 Seagate cheetah 300gb hard drives, man I'd love to get that running, but cards and cables are expensive as hell, and apparently these raids are part of friggin massive raid networks that need a "head" unit. I just have it lying in the garage being useless  :-\

Such a waste.

Sounds like a SAN...? (edit: the top 4U unit is the SAN "controller", sounds like you have one of the storage containers underneath them)

« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 10:33:05 am by justanothercanuck »
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Offline XOIIO

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Re: LTO drives: How are the viewed in the computer?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 10:42:02 am »
Mmm, fiber.

I have a raid, can't recall the name, but it's a fiber channel raid with I think, 300 Seagate cheetah 300gb hard drives, man I'd love to get that running, but cards and cables are expensive as hell, and apparently these raids are part of friggin massive raid networks that need a "head" unit. I just have it lying in the garage being useless  :-\

Such a waste.

Sounds like a SAN...? (edit: the top 4U unit is the SAN "controller", sounds like you have one of the storage containers underneath them)



Yeah, kind of looks like one of those smaller ones. I can post pictures and get the model from it tomorrow. (well, I guess later today)

Offline rob77

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Re: LTO drives: How are they viewed in the computer?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2014, 11:26:00 am »
the LTO drives will show up as tape drives, if you have a tape library with robotics/changer then the changer/robotics will show up as a separate device.
you need a software to control a tape library (HP dataprotector, IBM tivoli...etc).

even if you have a single standalone  tape drive , then you still need a software capable of writing to tapes (tapes are sequential access devices, not random access as harddrives are). back in time i was using a DDS3 tape with windows backup (on win NT4) but don't know if windows backup still exists or if it can still handle tapes.

for linux systems it's not a problem at all - the st driver will recognize your scsi tape drive and you can sequentially write to the tape as to any other file ;)

regarding LTO2 - those are ancient , hard to find new tapes and even if you find some - they are freaking expensive per GB compared to current LTO tapes.
 

Offline justanothercanuck

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Re: LTO drives: How are they viewed in the computer?
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 12:01:39 pm »
windows backup (on win NT4) but don't know if windows backup still exists or if it can still handle tapes.

for linux systems it's not a problem at all - the st driver will recognize your scsi tape drive and you can sequentially write to the tape as to any other file ;)

Windows got rid of tape functionality in their backup program in Win7 it seems. 

In linux the tar command still exists though, and at least he would be using it for it's original purpose (Tape ARchive  ;) )...  but there is also storix and amanda and bacula.  AFAIK, bacula works on Windows too.

Quote
you need a software to control a tape library (HP dataprotector, IBM tivoli...etc).

edit: not necessarily.  since his unit has a manual selector, he can just change the tape out manually every day/week/month/etc.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 12:10:58 pm by justanothercanuck »
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Offline SirNick

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Re: LTO drives: How are they viewed in the computer?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 09:11:18 pm »
Backup software is written specifically for its purpose.  As mentioned, you don't see a drive letter, it's a special class of device that must be written in a linear fashion.  This requires all I/O (read/write ops) to be handled in that manner.  For cheaper software, look at Backup Exec, CommVault, etc..  I've never used Amanda or Backula, but look into that as a free option if you're just repurposing old hardware.

The software will build a database of tapes it has seen (usually by scanning the barcode and/or reading RFID, but if there's no automatic ID hardware, it'll just create sequential IDs and it's up to you to label the media appropriately) and track what is on them, when it was backed up, etc.  This lets you browse your history of backed up files and create restore jobs without having to load every tape and scan its contents.  (Reading the TOC is not a fast operation....)

With a single tape drive, the software will fill the tape, eject it, then ask for the next one.  You proceed in this manner until the job is complete, or you cancel it.  With an autoloader, it will examine the database for tapes that have "expired" (past their required data retention time, based on a policy you create) and overwrite them as necessary.  You can essentially remain ignorant of what's on any particular tape.  The software will flag media errors and let you offline that tape, import new ones, etc., and carry on tracking where your volume sets (backup jobs) are at any given time.  You can use the media browser to export tapes if you want to keep a volume set off-site or whatever.

Completely different paradigm to typical media, very much optimized for the task.  Beware, it can be a fragile ecosystem.  If you shuffle things around without keeping the software in the loop, it will get very angry with you.
 


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