Author Topic: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)  (Read 9029 times)

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Offline exuvoTopic starter

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LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« on: February 21, 2022, 05:08:30 pm »
Seeing as there was some interest in LTO on the forum i will start a thread with my journey using it. All costs include 25% VAT and transport as i live in Sweden. Almost everything bought on ebay.

I recently bought a refurbished tape library (autoloader) Dell PowerVault TL2000 on ebay for $194 and a used LTO-5 SAS tape drive for $199.
First problem: the drive is a HP drive and due to vendor lock in HP drives only work on HP libraries. My options were now to buy a HP library or a IBM drive (resold by Dell and Lenovo).
For some reason IBM drives cost 3 times as much as HP drives with equivalent specifications. So i bought a refurbished HP Storever MSL2024 library for $487 (starting to go downhill here :D) which was cheaper than a refurbished IBM LTO-5 drive at $800. The refurbished libraries came with 6 months warranty.

Both of these libraries are almost identical (dell one has a 4 line graphical display, hp has text 2 lines) with 24 slots for tapes split into 2st 12 bay sides that can be easily removed for bulk changing of tapes. There are also 4U models with 48 slots for just a bit more money.
Both my HP and Dell libraries have good web UIs. I suggest separating them with firewalls and/or VLAN as they probably have security holes. Or just don't connect the network cable for normal use.

If you want to spend way more money LTO-6 drives can be had for around $580 for a used HP and $1470 for IBM. They only store 1TB more than than LTO-5, 1.5TB vs 2.5TB, and are not worth it in my opinion.
I you somehow get your hands on a LTO-7 drive for less than a kidney they can store 6TB and have twice the speed (300MB/s) as LTO-5/6 (140/160MB/s).

For tapes i bought a new cleaning tape for $22 (50 uses), 10st new LTO-5 tapes from china for $225 and 100 used LTO-5 tapes for $490.
Each LTO-5 tape is guaranteed to work for at least 200 full writes.
My use case is monthly rotating backups on the new tapes, and archival backups on the used tapes (i.e. write a few tapes once a year and never reuse).
Archival backups are safe from crypto viruses and accidental deletes, rotating backups are mostly safe from crypto viruses and accidental deletes.

For tape barcodes the new tapes came with a sheet (100x96mm) of 4st empty stickers each. Used tapes already had stickers. Using the program glabels on linux i was able to print onto these with my laser printer (just about minimum paper size it works with, must go short side in first or it gets stuck). Use barcode style 39 in glabels, barcode size is 65.36x11.1mm, sticker size is 78x16mm, center barcode horizonally at the bottom and put whatever text you want above. Printing settings were paper type labels and monochrome i.e. black only as the text did not stick well if it used color. Glabels supports generating from csv files which makes it easy to print many.

I also bought an old 3G/s SAS 2xSFF-8088 PCIe x4 card for $46 and a 1m SAS cable for $30. 3G/s should be good up to LTO-6. LTO-7 is much faster and needs a 6G card to work at full speed.

The LTO drives have incredibly noisy tiny fans, i changed mine to a larger quieter fan using a 3D printed adapter, see https://www.eevblog.com/forum/repair/replacing-the-cooling-fan-in-an-lto-2-tape-drive/msg4021672/#msg4021672 . Fan noise is barely audible now. Drive makes some noise when running but quite pleasant tones so i don't mind :D

Firmware for these things is a bit difficult to get.
IBM requires a service account but dell and lenovo use the exact same drive firmware and have it for free. My refurbished libraries were already up to date.
HP has a few years old firmware for free but i found the latest one on a shared google drive.
PM me if anyone wants copies, i got libraries and drives LTO-5 to LTO-8.

Programs i used on arch linux: mtx-git mt-st-git mbuffer amanda hpltt (itdt manually downloaded for IBM drives) tapestat (from package sysstat) maminfo-git
mt controls the drive and tape positioning, only useful if you want to do things manually. Point environment variable TAPE to your tape drive to ease mt usage.
mtx controls the library and allows listing tapes and loading/unloading into the tape drive.
mbuffer provides large RAM buffering so the drive does not stall if disk IO is intermittently slow.
hpltt or itdt is used for drive diagnostics and firmware updating (firmware can also be updated from the libraries web UI).
tapestat -m -1 shows tape read and write speeds.
maminfo shows tape cartridge stats like times loaded and total data written/read. Good if you buy used tapes to know how much life they have left.

Basic usage: https://www.cyberciti.biz/hardware/unix-linux-basic-tape-management-commands

I access my drive via /dev/tape/by-id/scsi-HUE2530E22-nst and the library via /dev/tape/by-id/scsi-DEC8320699 .
You can also use /dev/nst0 for drive and /dev/sgNumber for the library (if you see /dev/chNumber instead of sg then blacklist module ch).

For manual backups and restore i use:
backup: tar cf - /aDirectory | zstd -qc -3 -T0 | openssl enc -pbkdf2 -e -aes-256-ctr -salt -pass fd:3 3< passwordFile | mbuffer -f --tapeaware -m 2G -L -P 80 -o $TAPE
restore: mbuffer -i $TAPE -s 1024k -b 2048 -L | openssl enc -pbkdf2 -d -aes-256-ctr -salt -pass fd:3 3< passwordFile | zstd -dqcf | tar -xf -

Amanda is a pretty old software (development started in the 80s) for tapes which is very noticable in that all the default settings are absolute garbage for modern hardware. The wiki is a mess but man pages are good.
But the software works well, it can do multi tape backups, networked backups (its own client or samba), (multi level) incremental backups, has good reporting and keeps a local file list so you can easily find the correct tape to restore from if you only need to restore a few files.
I will attach sensible settings that use aes-256-ctr and zstd compression. Put them in /etc/amanda/
A temporary fast storage disk can be useful if the disk you are backuping from is way too slow to write straight to tape (my LTO-5 drive seems to handle write speeds down to 50% of max speed just fine) or if you are doing many small backup sets that would make the tape drive start and stop a lot between them.

To start a backup i run "sudo -u amanda amdump archive localhost" or in user amanda's crontab "/usr/bin/amdump backup localhost; /usr/bin/amtape backup eject".
When it is done i get a email with which tapes it wrote to and other details. For the archive backups i then remove the right 12 slot bay and remove the tapes it used and put in new ones.

To register the new tapes i run:
single tape: sudo -u amanda amlabel --barcode ROT001L5 backup ROT001
multiple tapes: for i in {2..9}; do sudo -u amanda amlabel --barcode ROT00${i}L5 backup ROT00$i; done
Replace ROT001 with whatever the new tapes are called. My own printed tapes i use ROT01 to ROT09. My used ones all start with A and then 5 numbers.
This writes a small header to file 0 on the tapes marking it as a amanda tape registering it to a specific backup config so it does not accidentally get overwritten by amanda if you do something stupid.
Add a -f if a tape was previously used in an amanda config and you are sure nothing important is on it.

Amanda backups can be recovered easily without the software itself.
Position tape at the correct file using "mt fsf and mt status", file 1 if you only did a single backup set (1 DLE).
First block is text information from amanda about what this backup is and how to restore it. Either skip this block with mt fsr or read it "dd if=$TAPE bs=1024k count=1 of=header".
You should now be at block 1 according to mt status, everything following is the backup data, assuming you used my settings you can restore with the same line as up above or:
mbuffer -i $TAPE -s 1024k -b 2048 -L | /etc/amanda/encrypt -d | /etc/amanda/zstd-compression -d | tar -xf -
which uses the password stored in /var/lib/amanda/
Skip zstd-compression if you did not compress this backup (the header will tell you if you did).

Slight security warning here is that the header leaks some details about your backup like the backup name (DLE name) and settings used. So maybe don't label the backup my-banking-passwords if you care about not making it easier for physical attackers.

Another alternative to amanda is bakula but i have not tried it.

Assuming i used all my tape storage, 150TB used tapes and 15TB new, the cost is $11.14/TB including the cost for the extra library i don't use. Sum total i have spent is left as an exercise to the reader as i dare not write it T_T. Planning to allow friends to do archival on the used tapes if they want for a small cost.

-edit-
Had a parsing error in amanda.zip/backup/disklist on line 3, moved "tar-comp" down a line. Zip updated.

-edit2-
Updated config to include amanda-client.conf used for restores via amrecover. See https://www.eevblog.com/forum/general-computing/lto-tape-usage-(modern-tape-drives)/msg4025251/#msg4025251 for usage.
Added tapestat and maminfo to list of useful programs.

-edit3-
Fix wrong dumptype used for raw disks in example config.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2022, 09:06:03 am by exuvo »
 
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Offline EHT

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2022, 11:05:34 pm »
Thanks for starting this thread exuvo!

I have somewhat similar to you. Its not easy but far superior than what I had before – an assortment of crappy consumer grade external HDDs.

Reason I chose this solution
•   I have 10s of TB of data. Cloud storage for this is a significant cost. Cant remember the details though
•   I realised drives such as the WD ones use the lowest grade consumer drives (WD Green etc) which are not designed for long term use and will fail. Happened to my external HDDs and internal non-enterprise HDD & SSD, so I got tired of this.

My setup
•   I have a multi-TB RAID5 setup with Adaptec cards, which I backup from and also offline some data to save having to keep growing the arrays
•   I have a Quantum Superloader3 LTO-5, 16 tape library in 2U rack connected to HBA in the same machine as the RAID arrays
•   I take two backup copies with one periodically stored elsewhere

Problems:
•   Non-enterprise use of LTO is uncommon. For this reason, I couldn’t find a working cheap/free software backup solution which would properly support the tape library since these are enterprise devices, and enterprise backup licences are multiple $k. I will check out the above recommendation. Good to start this thread!!
•   The LTO and HBA drivers are not supported on Windows 10, only Windows server. I need to shift it all to Linux but that is a rainy day project I haven’t got around even with COVID lockdown! I presume the tapes, being LTFS formatted can equally be read/written from Windows or Linux.
•   If you’re not careful accessing the drive you can end up grinding to a halt seeking. If you try to move a tape whilst it is not unloaded, the loader still tries and then jams.
•   Despite the claimed longevity of the media there is a nasty built-in obsolesce. LTO-5 is not that old, but on its way out. The newer LTO-7 drives won’t write to it.  For example, in the other thread, the OP had LTO-2. That means they cannot upgrade beyond LTO-4 to be able to read the existing tapes, otherwise have to go through and duplicate all of them using the old & new drives together. Not a problem if these are purely a backup though.
•   I’m not sure what is involved in upgrading the drive in the Quantum tape loader as there is some software / firmware dependency. I guess I’ll wait until LTO-7 is cheap.
•   Media is quite expensive, especially since I’m doing a double backup. Buying used tapes is hit/miss.
•   It is noisy – both the fan and the rotation of tapes. Still, I don’t leave it on all the time so haven’t bothered thinking about changing the fans.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2022, 11:07:47 pm by EHT »
 

Offline exuvoTopic starter

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2022, 01:22:36 am »
Thanks for your reply.

I presume the tapes, being LTFS formatted can equally be read/written from Windows or Linux.
Yes on arch linux there are packages in AUR named "ltfs" and "ltfs-quantum" (i think quantum has their own variant) and i found some helper scripts at https://github.com/amiaopensource/ltopers but i don't think i will use LTFS for anything as amanda backup software is working well for me.

Quote
•   If you try to move a tape whilst it is not unloaded, the loader still tries and then jams.
This probably depends on the library, my HP MSL2048 unloads from the drive first and then moves it away. Never managed to make it jam.

Quote
•   Despite the claimed longevity of the media there is a nasty built-in obsolesce. LTO-5 is not that old, but on its way out. The newer LTO-7 drives won’t write to it.  For example, in the other thread, the OP had LTO-2. That means they cannot upgrade beyond LTO-4 to be able to read the existing tapes, otherwise have to go through and duplicate all of them using the old & new drives together. Not a problem if these are purely a backup though.
While true it is not much of a problem for me as I will renew my backups yearly anyways. If you just want to keep the possibility to access old tapes i say just keep the old drive next to the new one. Most if not all libraries has place for multiple drives and even if not they are quick to change.

Quote
•   I’m not sure what is involved in upgrading the drive in the Quantum tape loader as there is some software / firmware dependency. I guess I’ll wait until LTO-7 is cheap.
Unfortunately i don't have any quantum firmware but i assume the process is similar to mine. Log into the library with the service account using the web interface and there should be menus for updating both the library firmware and connected drives. From the various change logs i found as long as your library firmware is from after when that LTO generation was released it should support it.

Quote
•   Media is quite expensive, especially since I’m doing a double backup. Buying used tapes is hit/miss.
I seem to have been lucky with my 100 used tapes buy, using https://github.com/arogge/maminfo i was able to read the EEPROM inside a cartridge and it said one of them had only been loaded 15 times and barely written to. Assuming the whole lot is similar i have at least a hundred uses left on each.

Where do you buy from? Even the new cartridges i bought are still half the $/TB price of CMR hard disk drives i could find (i would not want to use SMR in RAID).

Quote
•   It is noisy – both the fan and the rotation of tapes. Still, I don’t leave it on all the time so haven’t bothered thinking about changing the fans.
Check out the fan replacement i did in the other thread, it really helped for me and was easy to do (assuming you have a 3D printer). I can leave it on all the time now if i want to without it disturbing and i sit 1m away from it daily. The only too noisy part left is when it changes tapes but that is a once every 3 hours during writing and i can live with that. The noise while writing or reading i find is an acceptable level/sound to not be distracting.
You could also just buy long cables for it. I saw SAS cables that were 10 meters for sale.
 

Offline exuvoTopic starter

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2022, 01:51:34 am »
I only have around 10TB i need backed up so this is not really a cost effective solution for me from that standpoint but i really want an offline backup and this seemed the best option.

Tapes are very resilient to bumpy transports which is good as i want to keep the archive backups in a distant building and cheap enough that i don't need to bring them back for reuse.

Theft risk, if i for example stored my archives in my summer house, would also be much lower than with hard disks as the thief would not recognize them as valuable/resellable nor easily be able to read them even before encryption comes into play. Obscure technology has its advantages.

LTO tapes are mostly sealed and if you keep them in the tight plastic case they come in i think they would be almost immune to humidity problems.
 

Offline jh15

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2022, 02:51:15 am »
Thanks for starting the thread I tried a few years ago, in my linux forum. I can ride on your shoulders. Will help others. Now to read the above posts, wanted to say thanks while you were online. It is quite complex, even for an old tech/engineer. Prefer Linux, but keep a windows drive around for ease of use.
Tek 575 curve trcr top shape, Tek 535, Tek 465. Tek 545 Hickok clone, Tesla Model S,  Ohio Scientific c24P SBC, c-64's from club days, Giant electric bicycle, Rigol stuff, Heathkit AR-15's. Heathkit ET- 3400a trainer&interface. Starlink pizza.
 

Offline exuvoTopic starter

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2022, 05:31:13 pm »
Thought i would add a section on recovery using amanda backup's tools. Probably wise to test restores at least once a year so you know everything is working as it should.

First for an overview of what dates you have backups from you can run "sudo -u amanda amadmin ConfigName find".

To actually recover files we will use the command "amrecover ConfigName". It supports connecting to remove backups servers and other complex things but for a single system setup you only need an amanda-client.conf next to amanda.conf with the following:

conf "ConfigName"
auth "local"

If you don't have an amanda-client.conf it will default to tcp connection but you probably don't have that service running so it will just time out.

cd to the directory you want to restore in then run "amrecover ConfigName" as root. (note that raw device backups, dumptype dd in my example config, always restore to the device)
If all goes well you end up in a FTP-like promt "amrecover>" and from here we will select what files we want and from what dates.
"listdisk" to see your backup sets.
"setdisk BackupSet" to select a backup set to restore from.
Now we can use "cd", "ls", "add file1 file2 file*.txt", "addx regex" to select the files/directories we want to restore.
"setdate YYYY-MM-DD" if you only want to see files from before that date (inclusive). It defaults to today.

Use "list" to see what you have selected and if something is wrong use "delete file1" or "deletex regex" to remove it from the list.
If everything looks good you run "extract" and it will start loading tapes and restoring the selected files to the directory you started amrecover in.

The restore is a bit interactive so you have to enter Y before each major step like loading a tape, starting extraction from a tape. Needed as you might have to go get tapes and put them in your library or if you don't have that your single drive.

-edit-
For some reason if i use encryption i get a single spurious error at the end of amcheckdump or amrecover (if you recover the last file written):
 application stderr: /usr/bin/tar: Skipping to next header
 application stderr: /usr/bin/tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors
It still recovers as it should so nothing to worry about and manual recovery from the same tape does not produce this warning but i have not yet figured out why it happens.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2022, 05:04:21 pm by exuvo »
 

Offline cncjerry

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2022, 08:23:02 pm »
I didn't take the time to read all this except for the first about the HP compatibility issue.  I've swapped LTO5 into a Tandberg autoloader that had lto3 originally but I use SAS drives.  You have to check the pinout for the autoloader control lines but usually you just move the connector over to the correct pins.

Again, I didn't read it all, but performance greatly depends on the source drives as well as the interface.  I had my tape attached with fiberchannel at first with an FC to SCSI adapter.  I got rid of the scsi, used SAS with larger block sizes and performance improved. 

I've had my eye out for an LTO6 but the tapes are so pricey and used tapes are not a good value at all. 

Lastly, I went to tape as I take the tape off and store it in my car, temperatures here are moderate, so that I always have my critical backups protected.  By the way, I looked at a number of backup options and only LTO tape gave me the forward reliability I wanted.  Hard drives fail, DVD rom and bluray fail, but LTO tape is good for quite a while. 

Jerry
 

Offline Hogwild

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2022, 04:51:25 pm »

•   The LTO and HBA drivers are not supported on Windows 10, only Windows server. I need to shift it all to Linux but that is a rainy day project I haven’t got around even with COVID lockdown! I presume the tapes, being LTFS formatted can equally be read/written from Windows or Linux.

You sure about that?

That screenshot was taken from 21H1 Build 19043.2006. But I'm fairly certain it hasn't been removed since.

I'm about 99% sure that the last set of backups I did on my LTO-3 tape driver were in Windows 10. What MS didn't communicate effectively was that the backup agent/software no longer worked with tape. But the tape driver is there, as I've just proved.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2022, 04:53:25 pm by Hogwild »
 
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Offline cncjerry

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2022, 06:30:25 am »
I use LTO tape on win10 with cygwin and tar.  works great, compatible with linux and other tars, and it drives the tape at full output, spins like crazy.  There is a backup program written by a German guy that supports LTO on win10 but it is proprietary, something like zatdump? or ztdump?.  Bacula and amanda backup support LTO from a server accessing win10 through SMB, but again, cygwin with tar works fantastically.

Jerry
 

Offline Hogwild

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2022, 02:14:08 pm »
EDIT:

Uranium Backup supports tape on Windows. On their website, they make it sound like you need a special version for that, but I emailed their support and they informed me that all versions will do LTO if you first format with LTOFS.


Just out of curiosity, does tar work within WSL on tape drives?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2022, 04:58:06 pm by Hogwild »
 

Offline BradC

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2023, 09:34:24 am »
Late to the party, but I've just picked up a HPE internal LTO-5 SAS drive to do periodic snapshot backups. No library, just a meatware loader (me).

So far just using tar and scripting because we already have a comprehensive rotating backup system in place. This will just allow me to take monthly snapshots of the current backup and store them off site. Out snapshots are less than 1.5TB compressed, so I stage everything onto a 2TB ssd and then just squirt it out to the drive. I have encryption working and the drive defaults to compression on, so I've just left it as is for the moment.

This is my first foray into tape since DAT back in 2000 and thus far I'm pretty impressed.

Because it's an internal, I had to "tweak up" my workshop machine to have adequate airflow. It's an ancient case that only has 92mm fans, so it needed a few new fans and lots of gaffa tape over various holes to get the air to come through the drive.
 

Online Halcyon

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2023, 01:39:01 am »
I'd like to throw in my experience over the years.

I once used LTO-2 as my backup, but now that my NAS has grown to about 30 TB worth of data, it's just too time consuming to use the old tapes/technology particularly as the interface was SCSI and compressed write speed to tape is a maximum of 10MB/sec. At that rate, it would take me over a month just in time taken to write data to tape, not taking into account delays in manually changing tapes.

I loved the technology. It was reliable then and still is today. Those LTO-2 tapes are still perfectly readable.

The challenge was finding free backup software that supported tape drives and would encrypt data before writing to tape (native hardware encryption wasn't supported until LTO-4). I even tried copies of BackupExec which ticked a lot of boxes, it was just overly complex and fussy. I remember using that stuff back when I worked as a systems admin using automated tape libraries and I hated it then too.

At the moment, my only "backup" of data is the RAID-Z2 pool the data currently sits on (yes, I know, that's not a proper backup) and I've been considering my options. I don't like the idea of just buying a bunch of large capacity consumer drives as there is just too much that could go wrong (and I would need to make multiple copies).

I also don't want to have too many types of backup as it would be time consuming to update them constantly. I think perhaps first level would be hard disk drive, and second level maybe LTO-6 or LTO-7.

A good backup strategy has been on my to-do list for quite some time, I really need to get around to implementing something soon. I would like to use tape again, as it's proven itself to be reliable, easily transportable and easy to store.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2023, 01:44:44 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline BradC

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2023, 10:56:28 am »
All our "stuff" resides on a 36TB RAID-6 which is periodically replicated to another RAID-6 in a "cold" machine that sits next to the hot one. So we are "available" for most contingencies.

Our "Backup" is a 4TB Seagate desktop USB drive (yes I know it's SMR) connected to a Raspberry PI in a physically separate building, but on the same network and switchboard. Every night the little RPi logs into each machine in turn and takes an rsync differential backup. Before it actually does the backup, it does a dry run to see if anything has changed, and if not it skips that one.
As of last night it has a maximum of 1097 backups and a minimum of 6 (/boot on a rarely changed box).

When/if a machine dies, I can use systemrescuecd to format the new drive/machine and rsync last nights backup into place and we're back up and running. This gets tested once a year as a minimum. We're on our third drive 4TB drive. When a drive fills up, I put it in the safe and start a new one.

So we had *a* backup, even though it's only "on-site" for most stuff.

If my house gets hit by a meteor, a direct lighting strike or any other mass EMP event, we lose all the machines plus the backups. So I went to tape. The monthly tapes get sent > 30KM away into another safe (along with the 4TB USB drive that contains 1 of 6 backups of our family photos). So unless Western Australia gets Nuked, we have a contingency. If WA gets Nuked, I'm not going to care about not being able to restore the backup.

I'm going to make a prick of myself and say it, even though I know I shouldn't because you already know better. RAID is not backup. If you value your data (in my case irreplaceable family photos) you need backups, and a few of them. I have 4 on-site and 2 off-site and my wife knows where they are.
 

Online Halcyon

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2023, 11:31:44 pm »
I'm going to make a prick of myself and say it, even though I know I shouldn't because you already know better. RAID is not backup. If you value your data (in my case irreplaceable family photos) you need backups, and a few of them. I have 4 on-site and 2 off-site and my wife knows where they are.

Yep we will keep repeating it over and over as it's solid advice.

I will however defend my lack of backups at the moment in saying that at least ZFS "RAID" is resilient enough to detect and correct file corruption, unlike traditional old-school RAID. I would need to lose three drives before my data is gone.

In any case, this discussion is good, you've put a rocket up me to get it sorted, rather than putting it off for another 5 years.
 

Online Ranayna

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2023, 01:45:08 pm »
Lol, yeah...
As the saying goes: "Doctors are horrible patients", i think often the similar is true for IT guys.

And yes, considering how unorganized my private IT is, for me this is really true. :D At least i will not bitch and moan (well, maybe a little ;)) if i really should lose data. I know perfectly well that it would be my fault.

Regarding tape: I love the technology. But even used drives are quite expensive. At least the software (Mentioning Backup Exec gives me the willies :rant:) is not as much of an issue anymore. LTO-5 and higher support LTFS, enabling access like any other drive.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2023, 02:50:28 pm »
Back in 1993 I had just bought my first computer. I became obsessed with filling up all the empty sockets, slots, and bays. One of the things I bought was an "Easy Options" tape drive. I didn't actually have any need for it and the software was really confusing to use. So after installing it and admiring the no longer empty drive bay, that was pretty much all I ever did with it.

 

Online Halcyon

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2023, 02:30:15 am »
Well, I've settled on a Dell PowerVault TL2000 auto-loader with two LTO-5 tape drives. Through a friend of mine, I managed to get the unit, along with a crate full of media and an SAS HBA for sub-$1000.

For that kind of money, I don't think there is a better solution in my opinion.
 

Offline BradC

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2023, 04:14:11 am »
Yowza, that's a good deal based on current pricing for LTO 5 stuff.
 

Offline BradC

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2023, 03:52:50 am »
Has anyone done an old-school head clean on an LTO drive?

I intended to get an external SAS enclosure for my drive, so I put a bid on a "unable to test" Dell LTO5 external drive because it was half the price of the bare enclosures, and when it arrived it turns out its had very little use and works fine.

My HP drive has ~1300 movement hours and has never been cleaned. The Dell has ~800 movement hours and has been cleaned 3 times. Most of its use has been reading LTO 3 & 4 tapes, so perhaps they were old and funky. I thought I'd strip it down and give the head an old fashioned wash, so I've ordered some quality chamois cleaning sticks. I can find no information at all on manually cleaning an LTO head even though there are companies that offer this as a proactive services, so I thought I'd ask if anyone has any experience.

I figured the usual tape path clean, then gentle wipes of the head in the tape movement direction with 99% IPA. Anyone have any better ideas?
 

Online Halcyon

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2023, 04:35:03 am »
I've never manually cleaned an LTO drive (never had the need). I just run the cleaning tape through when it requires it (and only when it requires it). I believe newer LTO drives will refuse to run a cleaning tape if it's not needed and simply spit it back out.
 

Offline metebalci

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2023, 04:58:47 am »
I also started using LTO(-5) recently at home. I can easily group the required files into different sets (and dont care that used space on media is not optimized) so each of my backups fit to a single media, so I am using the simplest method, tar and write to media. I have Quantum LTO-5 drives both model B and C.
 

Offline seileren

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2024, 10:47:41 pm »
Hi! I was handed down an HP (StorageWorks) MSL 4048 (G3 series) library, with an lto-4 fc drive (1840). The library is on fw 6.50 / 2.70e, and seems to work great.
However, I decided to try out LTO-6 and went for an HP LTO-6 HH FC drive (C0H28A, with fw 25GW). In the library interface the drive lists as unsupported..

Does anyone know if I can upgrade the fw of the library to get this to work? Searching for MSL StorageWorks results in some hits for version 6.90 (which I cant find), but for storeever there is a v9.60 (robotics 3.20e). Is this something totally different, or can I use it?

Appreciate any answers :)

----------------------

Can report back that upgrading with the v9.60/3.20e fw was a success, and now the lto-6 drive is functioning as well.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 12:54:35 pm by seileren »
 

Offline Hogwild

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2024, 11:35:07 pm »
I remember in some Youtube video hearing that they didn't recommend using cleaning tapes. They said it actually mostly spread the dirt around more than it cleaned, which sometimes made things worse.

I haven't found a detailed HOWTO/walkthrough on how to clean LTO heads yet, but this video tells you to use 99.9% ISO and at least shows you what you're likely to be looking at:



He has a number of very good videos. He's an LTO repair specialist. That's all his company does.

Also, he recommends using the "correct" type of tape for your brand drive. He has said repeatedly in his videos that using the wrong brand tape can cause more oxides to wear off, as well as mechanical issues. This sort of runs contrary to having an LTO standard, but it still may be true.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2024, 11:41:48 pm by Hogwild »
 
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Offline exuvoTopic starter

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2024, 07:42:25 pm »
Sorry notifications broke.
BDT made most of the libraries hobbyists use specifically FLEXSTOR II:
- 24-bay: IBM TS3100, Dell TL2000, HP MSL2024, Qualstar Q24, Overland NEOS T24, Fujitsu Eternus LT40, Siemens FibreCAT TX24 S2, Strongbox V24, Cybernetics CY-TLL-224, actiLib 2U.
- 48-bay: IBM TS3200, Dell TL4000, MSL4048, Qualstar Q48, Overland NEOS T48, Fujitsu Eternus LT60, Siemens FibreCAT TX48 S2, Strongbox V48, Cybernetics CY-TLL-448, actiLib 4U.
Special display: HP MSL2024 and MSL4048.

The firmwares are mostly identical except for a manufacturer string check which you can modify to cross-flash firmwares. Exception is MSL as they have a different display, it still runs but the display becomes non-operational and buttons are remapped. For more details on how to do that https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/167xd5o/howto_crossflashing_firmware_on_2448bay_lto/

With that you should be able to get ex HP drives working in a library that supposedly does not support them. As when i plugged on into the wrong one it could still read serial number of the drive so it seems to only be different firmware.

I have aquired firmwares for most FLEXSTOR II libraries up to LTO8. Send a DM if you want a copy.

-edit-
Regarding using the "correct" tape brand from what i have gathered the manufacturers used slightly different tape tensions so using the wrong one deteriorates the tape faster than usual (which leaves dirt inside the drive).
LTO6 was notably different in that IBM switched to BF (Barium-Ferrite) while HP remained on MP (Metal Particulate) which apparently is even worse to mix.
LTO7 and up are all made by IBM with Fuji tapes so no mixing problems possible there.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2024, 08:12:58 pm by exuvo »
 

Offline exuvoTopic starter

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Re: LTO tape usage (modern tape drives)
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2024, 11:06:44 pm »
Here is the script i use to autolabel (with amanda) new tapes. All my used tapes have labels in the form of A then 5 numbers ex A12345, change the regex to match yours.

Code: [Select]
export TAPE=/dev/tape/by-id/scsi-HUE2530E22-nst
TAPEX=/dev/tape/by-id/scsi-DEC8320699
tapes=`mtx -f /$TAPEX status | grep "Storage Element" | grep "Full" | cut -d " " -f 10 | cut -d "=" -f2 | grep -E "^A[0-9]{5}"`
for tape in $tapes; do
  echo -n "Found archive tape $tape"
  new=`grep -c ${tape::-2} /etc/amanda/archive/tapelist`
  if [ "$new" -eq 0 ]; then
    echo -n ". New tape adding.. "
    sudo -u amanda amlabel --barcode "$tape" -f archive "${tape::-2}"
  fi
  echo ""
done
mtx -f $TAPEX unload
 


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