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Shelf life of LTO tapes - with or without plasticcanister

Posted by Anonymous 
Shelf life of LTO tapes - with or without plasticcanister
December 20, 2013 05:39AM
We’ve used Iron Mountain for years and they’ve never had this requirement. We use the “transports” (their boxes) to put multiple tapes in without the original plastic cases after ejects. The return tapes come back in the same kind of transports. Within the last year or so IM seems to have moved from the metal “transports” to thick plastic ones.

I don’t understand the comments about “archiving”. The point in using IM or any other center is so that you don’t lose both your data center AND your backups in the same disaster.

Of course you could avoid tapes altogether by using a deduplication unit like the Data Domain or the Quantum DXi and having that replicate images to similar units at the offsite storage facility. If they’re really paranoid about tape movement where you are this might be an alternative they could investigate.

[i]Jeffrey C. Lightner[/i][i][/i]
[i]Sr. UNIX Administrator[/i][i][/i]

DS Waters of America, Inc.
5660 New Northside Drive NW
Suite [i]250 (adjust as needed)[/i]
Atlanta, GA 30328

[b]From:[/b] veritas-bu-bounces < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu [mailto] [b]On Behalf Of [/b]Justin Piszcz
[b]Sent:[/b] Friday, December 20, 2013 5:27 AM
[b]To:[/b] 'Dean'; veritas-bu < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu
[b]Subject:[/b] Re: [Veritas-bu] Shelf life of LTO tapes - with or without plastic canister

Hello Dean,

I have specific experience in this space. If the tapes are stored in clean environments and are not dropped or damaged, I have restored data up to 4-5 years old (.. the data was from 2005—which was restored in 2009-2010) without a problem.

If you have cross-site backups between datacenters and you have enough capacity to hold all of the tapes in the robots, I agree with you, keep the data (if you are doing cross-site backups) in the bots themselves.

However, if you’re pushing petabytes you’ll have to eject tapes or buy a lot of large robots, in which case, sending the tapes off to an off-site tape vendor is one of the options. Alternatively you can buy a GEMTRAC, which is like a bookshelf for tapes—but as you noted the environment needs to be correct, if there are a lot of particulates in the air, they *[b]will[/b]* damage the tapes and cause read errors.

Justin.

[b]From:[/b] veritas-bu-bounces < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu ([email]veritas-bu-bounces < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu[/email]) [mailto]veritas-bu-bounces < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu[/email])] [b]On Behalf Of [/b]Dean
[b]Sent:[/b] Friday, December 20, 2013 4:57 AM
[b]To:[/b] veritas-bu < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu ([email]veritas-bu < at > mailman.eng.auburn.edu[/email])
[b]Subject:[/b] [Veritas-bu] Shelf life of LTO tapes - with or without plastic canister

Hi folks.

The place I have recently started working at have a requirement that all monthly backup tapes are sent offsite to a secure storage location (similar to Iron Mountain), and remain there forever. I know... I hate a backup system being used as an archive system, but that's the way it is, for now.

The thing that surprised me is that they put all the LTO5 tapes back in the plastic canister they come in when they are new before they send them offsite. This adds a lot of time to the process of ejecting and processing these tapes for pickup. The whole process is outsourced to a third party, and we pay them by time, so I want to streamline it as much as I can.

I have worked with heaps of tape vaulting procedures over the years, and none of them have put tapes back in the plastic canister. Although, admittedly, none of them have had a "forever" retention period.

I want to convince them that storing the tapes in their original plastic container is not worth the amount of physical labour time it takes to do it. Does anyone have any evidence either way about whether storing the tapes in a plastic box makes any difference, considering they're being ejected from a tape library and put into sealed boxes in a dust-free, climate-controlled data centre, being transported to the "vault" in a dust-free, climate-controlled truck, and removed from the boxes and stored in shelves in a dust-free, climate-controlled vault?

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Dean

Athena®, Created for the Cause™
Making a Difference in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

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