LTO Storage Solutions tape drives, autoloaders and libraries
We have been supplier of LTO storage products since the original LTO-1 tape drive emerged in 2000. Today LTO storage is the number one tape technology sold globally. We can supply all LTO tape based products and media with solutions from all the leading tape vendors including.
- Spectra Logic
- Tandberg Data
LTO Storage Tape Versions
LTO tape is currently at LTO-7 and this holds 3TB’s native and 15TB compressed, with disk storage capacities rising to 10TB by the end of 2016 tape needs to keep up. With LTO-10 scheduled to be available 2020 this will hold 120TB’s native will keep LTO storage at the forefront of the lowest cost per TB technology. LTO has a roadmap through to generation 10 storing over 120TB!
You can also purchase LTO WORM tape media for data archiving and compliance purposes. These tapes are Write Once and as such any data once written cannot be erased.
Backing up to LTO storage
In the world we live today there are many technological choices we need to make when we back up data or do we need to bother at all. Many companies over the past few years have completely done away with tape and just use disk to disk for backup, there are many arguments for and against using tape. I believe that tape still has a place in the backup environment and the following will hopefully assist you in making this decision.
Definition of a backup
A system backup should be able to backup the complete operating system including files and applications. From this you should be able to restore you last backup and recover to this point in time. You should also be able to restore individual files or emails.
I have heard this so many times I have lost count. If you go back 12 years then yes your ability to read a tape due to corruption, lost leader or backup software was more common. With LTO storage today the error recovery rates and robustness of the media make tape as reliable as any other form of storage technology. Disk drives fail are easy to corrupt through failure or maliciously and the rebuild times on RAID storage systems is becoming a huge headache for companies.
The middle ground
A compromise for using tape is a disk to disk to tape backup solution whereby your data is initially backed up to hard disk and then at a pre-determined time this is then sent to tape. An advantage of this type of solution is that file restores can be performed much faster than tape and you could hold 1 months worth of backups on hard disk. You could if the budget allows purchase a data deduplication system to condense your backup data by 20:1. These compression ratios are achieved by creating hash tags for duplicated blocks. If you would like to know more about data deduplication please call us using the number at the top of the page.
Disk to Disk only Backup
With D2D solution we backup to local disk and replicate the data offsite. This works, but it is dependant on the amount of data we need to transfer across our WAN link within our transfer window. Should something happen to the WAN link mid-way through a transfer, can you carry on from when the link broke or do you start from scratch? This is where data duplication can play a bigger part of your backup strategy as the data we need to transfer is drastically reduced. With any WAN based replication your telecoms links need to be robust and guarantee transfer speeds both ways.
Continuous Data Protection
The historical problem with backups is that they were only taken once a night and if something happened to your system the next day before your backup then you could lose 23+ hours of data. With continuous data protection your data is secured up until the last “minute/second/hour”. These backup solutions typically use disk to disk storage for speed of backup/restore and an element of tape to take critical information offsite. They have become very sophisticated in the way the data is backed up and overcome the issue of taking a backup once a day.
Advantages of tape
We understand that tape has been around for 60+ years and whilst sales have been on decline for a number of years it still has many advantages over alternative technologies.
- True portability
- Ideal for 10+ years archiving of data providing it’s not kept in a Green house
- Lowest cost per TB
- Faster backup speed than hard disk
- Higher capacity with the smallest storage footprint of competing technologies
- Easy to duplicate
LTO Storage the future
Any backup solution should not rely solely on one technology and it should be a combination of all of the above. A backup should allow you to recover to a point in time with the minimum of disruption and in a timely manner. LTO storage still has a great future ahead providing it is being adopted in the right way with the correct software.