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Hardware Thread, Why Tape Backups are Still Necessary in Technical; From the point of view of security, "tapes" would be more secure in the sense it's physically disconnected once it's ...
  1. #16

    matt40k's Avatar
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    From the point of view of security, "tapes" would be more secure in the sense it's physically disconnected once it's taken, so a remote hacker couldn't compromise the backup once it's been taken. It's why its often recommend taking a manual backup onto a CD\DVD\Bluray of your MIS \ Finance system in addition to your normal backup. It's a worse case scenario \ audit reason to do it.

    Also, if you go down the tape route you need to ensure that you have at least two tape drives as the drives can get unaligned so restoration can't occur on other drives - normally you find this out too late when the drive dies, so you need at least two, one to do the backup and another to test the backup. I find tapes only really work in a managed environment and most people just outsource it to a "cloud" provider. So you basically go disk > cloud then they go disk > disk > tape

  2. #17
    zag
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    I take your points, but I've had tape restores fail on my multiple times over the years and I just didnt think it was a reliable medium.

    Ever since we moved to Hard disks, and then onto SSD I've never had a corrupted restore problem.

    I use this for our external backups that we can take offsite or put in the fireproof safe, far more reliable imo

    SSD-iTB.png
    Last edited by zag; 18th March 2014 at 10:20 AM.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Not going to argue about best media type, if you're doing archives onto a removable device I think you're covering yourself. I don't trust usb drives, one drop and it's gone - not seen a external SSD yet however, so that might be a real option. Personally backing up onto DVD-R or a WORM tape at the end of term makes sense. From an audit point of view, once it's created, you can't edit it. I wouldn't intend to restore from it, but they are cheap, DVD-R are pennies and it covers you if you ask another school to hold it, just look at St Felix Middle that burnt down, the fireproof safe got melted into the rest of the building so "fireproof" isn't really "fireproof". DVD-R backups really are the absolute last line of defense and I don't see why you wouldn't do it. Pretty much every new machine comes with a writer, dvd-r a pennies. Order a pack then first week of the summer holiday, do a backup of the financial and MIS system use 7zip or something to compress and encrypt it (with a really rememberable password) and ask one of the local primaries to stash it in their safe.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    It really depends on the size of the data you need to backup. We can fit our entire backup on a 2TB disk. So, we bought 4TB disks for off-site backup, so we have plenty of expansion to work with.

    We then have our day to day backup solution - a 16TB NAS in a different building well separated from the main building.

    If we had more data, I'd possibly think about tape again, but it'd have to be a heck of a lot more to be honest.

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  6. #20

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robjduk View Post
    tape backups are not required if you do your job properly and have a robust backup solution in place.
    What part of "building burnt to the ground" has anything to do with the way I do my job? As it happens, I'm covered if that happens thanks to my robust backup strategy - that uses LTO5 tapes.

    Tapes are much smaller/easier to carry about than 3.5" external HDDs, more robust if dropped (which is to say, robust at all), cheaper to buy multiples of for the rotation, and more reliable in the long term - just because a HDD is sat in a cupboard somewhere doesn't mean it won't degrade and corrupt the data. Tapes are much better for long term storage in that regard, and we keep data for up to seven years.

    We also use hard drives for the daily backups, because they're easier to restore from, with the weekly backups going onto tape (and the final week of each month being kept for a year, and the final week of July being kept for seven years). We also use Previous Versions on the file server to enable users to restore their own files in the short term. But I still want the peace of mind of off-site tapes.

    SSDs may, once cost comes down, be the better solution - more robust than HDD, less prone to spontaneous bit decay, small and light - but the cost needs to come down a long way yet to cover the quantity we need for our rotation schedule.

  7. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    I take your points, but I've had tape restores fail on my multiple times over the years and I just didnt think it was a reliable medium.

    Ever since we moved to Hard disks, and then onto SSD I've never had a corrupted restore problem.

    I use this for our external backups that we can take offsite or put in the fireproof safe, far more reliable imo

    SSD-iTB.png
    @zag - you have to remember that your circumstances are really quite rare and most people could not use external 512GB SSDs as their rotational backup media. It's just not feasible for most people. I couldn't even hold my two file servers on a 512GB SSD let along our 21 other VM servers. Then there are configuration backups from our firewalls, switches, etc. and...nope, not until there are some 6TB SSDs available for a reasonable cost.

  8. #22
    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    @zag - you have to remember that your circumstances are really quite rare and most people could not use external 512GB SSDs as their rotational backup media. It's just not feasible for most people. I couldn't even hold my two file servers on a 512GB SSD let along our 21 other VM servers. Then there are configuration backups from our firewalls, switches, etc. and...nope, not until there are some 6TB SSDs available for a reasonable cost.
    I do understand, but those SSDs are credit card sized and don't suffer from dvd/tape rot.

    As you know, I really do think the technology is at a tipping point where people can seriously consider backing up to solid state memory.

    As for backing up 6tb... I think people should look at my blog post on that one

  9. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    As for backing up 6tb... I think people should look at my blog post on that one
    I've seen that post, and ehem, most of us would not be able to get away with doing some of those things. I have a good relationship with our Media and Art teachers and doing some of these things would absolutely sink that. Perhaps in a primary school I could get away with it.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    I've seen that post, and ehem, most of us would not be able to get away with doing some of those things. I have a good relationship with our Media and Art teachers and doing some of these things would absolutely sink that. Perhaps in a primary school I could get away with it.
    Indeed - resizing all images to 1080p for screen res? A 1080p 72dpi image printed at 300dpi for print quality isn't even 6" x 4". It'd destroy Photography.

    Lord knows they don't need all 300 images from their camera at that size when they're only going to use half a dozen of them - but I don't know which ones they'll use and which ones they won't. All I can do is encourage them to be conscientous with it, but at the end of the day: storage is cheap, and I'm here to support them as users; they're not here to justify my lovely network. I have to work to their needs.

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  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    I do understand, but those SSDs are credit card sized and don't suffer from dvd/tape rot.

    As you know, I really do think the technology is at a tipping point where people can seriously consider backing up to solid state memory.

    As for backing up 6tb... I think people should look at my blog post on that one
    SSD that are powered down for to long lose all the data stored. Higher end SSD's can retain data longer without power but all SSD's given time suffer in the same way as dvd/tape rot.

    EDIT: Some SSDs can keep data for as little as 3 months without power. Those SSD you use have a warning on them not to be used as a sole backup.
    Last edited by Pottsey; 18th March 2014 at 01:55 PM.

  13. #26


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    Tape ain't dead yet!

    Sony nanotechnicians invent magnetic tape that stores 185TB of data per tape « The Register

    Researchers at Sony have developed a new kind of magnetic tape that can store 74 times the data of current designs, dramatically cutting the amount of room needed for backup libraries.

    The tape is manufactured using a new vacuum thin-film forming system that deposits a string of uniformly orientated nanocrystals in a layer less than five micrometers thick. The crystals that are used to record data are much smaller than previously created, averaging 7.7 nanometers across, and this, along with their precise alignment, gives data densities of 148 Gb per square inch of tape.

    "By optimizing sputter conditions and independently developing a soft magnetic underlayer with a smooth interface, Sony has made it possible to minimize disparities in crystalline length and growth," the company said in a statement.

    To put that figure into perspective, the first magnetic storage tape, used by UNIVAC in 1951, was only capable of handling 128 characters per square inch, and the LTO-6 high-end LTO Ultrium tape currently used can manage just 2Gb per square inch.

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    TBH I think this is completely dependent on situation.

    1) Cloud Backups are difficult if you have low internet speed and high backup storage demands.
    2) Backing up to a NAS unless it is a good distance away and not in the same building is no real DR solution if the building burns down.

    We still use tapes at the moment and I think we will continue to use tapes for long term retention for the foresee able future. Our infrastructure is about 75% virtual, we Veeam backup to Disk with 25 day short retention and then do tape backups once a week for DR and long term retention. With 6TB of data going to tape once it has been compressed by Veeam.

    Of course you only realize how important your backup solution is when you need to recover data from it.

  15. #28

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I'm sorry @seawolf, but once again I'm calling hogwash!

    Done properly there is nothing wrong or restrictive in disk based backups. After a careful risk-benefit analysis (yes one of those again), we determined that we could survive quiet comfortable on a proper disk based routine.

    On-site we have our main archivale backup's. These go off to a 24Tb rackmount NAS sitting in a remote building away from the main server farm. Backup is nightly, incremental, over fibre. We use Yosemite software that uses the concept of "virtual tape drives" to make encryption and media rotation easier than a straight robocopy script. This backup is primarly about restoring lost work. Compare to tape - it's instant.

    I've used tape before and the response to lost work was - It'll be restored in a couple of hours once I've found the right tape and fast-forwarded to the correct point. Now I simple say "I'll be restored by the time you've returned to your seat". Instant win.

    What about if a nuclear explosion somehow took out both buildings? All your backups will be gone - I hear you cry.

    No fear, aside from the fact if both buildings were taken out we'd have bigger things to worry about than availability of backups, I do take regular backups off site. Once a term to be honest (remember the risk assessment?). I take them home. Full robocopy of home folders, shared storage and every VHD. On an 8Tb NAS. You know what? I've never found one of these too big to carry arround...

    OR82600000270693_BigProductImage.jpg

    ...And (you'll love this) It's RAID-5 as well
    Last edited by tmcd35; 2nd May 2014 at 08:56 AM.

  16. #29


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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    I've used tape before and the response to lost work was - It'll be restored in a couple of hours once I've found the right tape and fast-forwarded to the correct point. Now I simple say "I'll be restored by the time you've returned to your seat". Instant win.
    We can do that too with our D2D2T system.

  17. #30

    localzuk's Avatar
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    That's basically what we do here @tmcd35. We have a 16TB NAS in an outlying building which is 500m from the main building. Every night, we do incremental backups of our data.

    Every week we do full backups.

    We also generate off-site backups using several external USB3 4TB HDDs. A truecrypt encrypted full backup goes on those every couple of weeks, and they are taken to a far away place by our Bursar.

    Our main issue has been the speed of the NAS in receiving the data to be honest, but as it is now 3 years old and due for replacement next year, this won't be an issue much longer. When we replace it, I'll be getting 10Gbit set up to its location.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    We can do that too with our D2D2T system.
    Surely you're simply increasing costs by having *both* disk backup and tape backup?
    Last edited by localzuk; 2nd May 2014 at 09:04 AM.



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