FujiFilm Tape Evangelist Explains Past, Present & Future of Tape/LTO (Restore it All Podcast #132)

Fujifilm’s tape evangelist, Rich Gadomski, joins us for an interesting discussion on tape and LTO. We talk about the different subtrates that have been used over the years, and how that changed things. We then talk about LTO-9 and what that brings to market. We also talk about how tape has seen a bit of a resurgence in interest in the backup market due to the advent of ransomware. Always fun to talk to someone that can talk at this depth on such things.

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Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

Peter Krogh, who coined “the 3-2-1 rule,” on our podcast! (Restore it All Podcast #131)

The term “3-2-1 rule” comes up on almost every episode, and we have the guy that coined it with us on the podcast! How exciting! Peter Krogh coined the term fifteen years ago. He is now Chief Product Officer at Tandem Vault, but this week he is talking to us.

He first talks about how he coined the term “3-2-1 Rule” while writing the first edition of The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, now in it’s 3rd edition. He didn’t invent the idea of three copies and offsite backup, but he did distill it down to what we now refer to as the 3-2-1 rule. (Three copies on two media types, one of which is offsite.) We’ve played with it a bit over the years, but that is the core idea.)

He explains how digital photographers were some of the first to need significant amounts of storage — and to have the need to protect that storage so they don’t lose everything. Hard drives were too small to hold your whole collection, so what do you do?

Like a lot of folks in this space, his love for good backups goes back to a moment when he thought he lost it all. Curtis then tells his very similar story of how his company almost lost the company’s purchasing database, which also launched his career in backups. Peter then explains the incredible importance of metadata, and the huge importance it plays in the overall value of an image.

Then we get into the nitty-gritty of what the person who coined the term “3-2-1 rule” was thinking for each of the numbers. And interestingly enough, Mr. Backup had a slightly different understanding of the 2! Peter feels that the “2” refers to different media types. (This led to a very interesting discussion about how you do what he’s asking for in today’s cloud world.) One idea he talked about is that if you have two hard drives on the same network, they’re still subject to many of the same risks, which isn’t really keeping in line with the original idea of the 2.

We then talk about those that believe that RAID is backup, and follow that with a discussion about how SaaS services aren’t backing up your data – unless they specifically say they do so in your contract. Then we get into a discussion of Peter’s company, Tandem Vault, and how they have designed the next generation of Digital Asset Management and delivered it as a SaaS offering.

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Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

Mr. Backup and Mr. SQL argue over how to backup SQL Server (Restore it All Podcast #130)

Hav you ever had questions about SQL Server, Azure, SQL Server ON Azure, how to backup SQL Server, or how to backup Azure? This is the episode for you. Denny Cherry, a SQL Server and Azure specialist and author of seven books, talks to us about both of these technologies. Before talking about anything important, we tackle the mystery of how you pronounce Azure. Surprise! I was pronouncing it wrong, according to Denny, who talks to Microsoft people all the time.

We first talk about performance tuning, and Denny explains some things that most DBAs can do to improve performance, starting with indexes. (He also explains what an index is for those that don’t know.) We then talk about how bad query code needs to be in order to justify looking into that, and he gives us a few examples.

We also (of course) talk about backing up SQL Server, starting with the political discussion of WHO should own the backup process: a backup admin or a DBA? Denny and Curtis clearly do not agree on this one, but the discussion is a good one. Grab your popcorn! One of Denny’s best quotes is that he feels one of the primary jobs of the DBA is to be able to restore the database if something happens and if you can’t do that, nothing else matters. So beautiful.

Then the topic of dedupe comes up and things get heated again; our guest hates dedupe and Curtis loves it. That was another good discussion. Short version: make sure you have more than one copy of a deduped data store.

We continue the discussion of different ways to backup SQL Server, and Denny definitely prefers the native backup capabilities of SQL Server, and he explains why. Curtis then makes a suggestion on a way for DBAs and backup admins to both get what they want, but it doesn’t sound like Denny is taking the bait.

After a brief discussion on SQL Server vs Oracle, we move into the various ways one can use SQL Server in Azure. Denny’s gives advice as to what makes sense for most customers – and his opinion on the question of whether or not you save money in the cloud. Short answer: not usually, but you get a lot more power, flexibility and ease of use.

Regarding Azure vs AWS, it appears that Azure is very equivalent to AWS in overall functionality at this point, and there appears to be a number of cost and functionality advantages to running SQL Server in the cloud. One of the biggest advantages is that you can use an on-prem license of SQL Server in the PaaS version of it in the cloud. That’s pretty cool. We also talk about how roughly half of the VMs in Azure run Linux, and why that might be the case.

All-in-all it’s a really interesting podcast, even though we almost came to blows once or twice. (OK, not really.) But really good discussions about SQL Server, Azure, and backups of both.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

Deep dive into why tape still has a future in storage (Restore it All Podcast #129)

Mark Lantz, Manager CloudFPGA and Tape Technologies for IBM, joins us on this week’s podcast to talk about how he feels that tape still has a future in data storage. We talk about past and future advancements in the substrates tape uses, as well as how tape has not approached the superparamagnetic limit, the way we have with disk. (This is the limit at which you cannot increase the storage capacity of a particular magnetic medium without creating more problems.) We have reached this limit on disk, where the magnetic grains have gotten so small, they can’t get any smaller without assistance. One such method of assistance is heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which we discuss – and how HAMR comes with its own problems. By contrast, tape hasn’t come even close to the superparamagnetic limit. In fact, tape can scale the aerial density 100X before it starts getting close. We also discuss coercivity and bit error rate (BER), which are extremely important concepts to understand. Another topic we talk about is how tape is getting better at scaling capacity faster than speed, because most people do not need faster tapes. (We talk about how and why we can’t stream the ones they have.) We finish out the podcast with an explanation of why helican scan drives (e.g. 8mm, 4mm, & AIT) all disappeared overnight. We cover a lot of territory in this episode, so buckle up!

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

Transfer backups from one product to the next (Restore it All Podcast #128)

Every wondered what you’re supposed to do with all your old backups, now that you’ve moved on to another backup product? Simon Brown from StoneRam believes he has the answer to this problem that has plagued backup customers (and vendors) for ages. He’s able to transfer backup data out of common backup formats and into your new product, or restore backups from your old product without having to maintain that infrastructure. It’s a fascinating approach to this age-old problem. Check them out at https://www.stoneram.com.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.