Other tape drive recommendation

Oko

Daemon

Thanks: 763
Messages: 1,620

#1
I am seeking a tape drive recommendation. The drive will be used for off site backups of a very small ZFS pool (configured as 4 TB ZFS mirror but currently less than 100GB of data). I am looking something inexpensive but reliable internal or external it doesn't really matter to me. Just like in the past I going over this wonderful blog post of our own Terry_Kennedy

https://www.glaver.org/raidzilla25/
 

lebarondemerde

Daemon

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#2
The meaning of inexpensive do vary from one to another, but I think you can find some used ULTRIUM drives on ebay for a reasonable price.

While new ULTRIUM drives are expensive the tapes are not. Also, you could buy a older version since that maintain some backward compatibility between versions.

From their FAQ:
LTO Ultrium drives can read data from a cartridge in its own generation and two prior generations. An Ultrium drive can write data to a cartridge in its own generation and to a cartridge from the immediate prior generation (in the prior generation’s format).

For example:

  • An Ultrium format Gen. 7 drive will read and write data on an Ultrium format Gen. 6 cartridge (in the Gen. 6 format) and read data on an Ultrium format Gen. 5 cartridge.
EDIT: I've sent you a PM with a link of what seem to be a good deal.
 

vermaden

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 1,042
Messages: 2,694

#3
I am seeking a tape drive recommendation. The drive will be used for off site backups of a very small ZFS pool (configured as 4 TB ZFS mirror but currently less than 100GB of data). I am looking something inexpensive but reliable internal or external it doesn't really matter to me. Just like in the past I going over this wonderful blog post of our own Terry_Kennedy

https://www.glaver.org/raidzilla25/
I have used LTO3 (400GB) drive in the past, connected via old SCSI cable to some oldschool PCI (not PCI-x or PCI-e) controller.

The write speed was about 35MB/s, worked quite ok, quite noisy but worked.

Currently I prefer to use online 'offsite' ZFS pool that allows to update the data online without tape changing or things like that, but if You need 'real' offsite on tapes then I would suggest some LTO4/LTO5 drives on SAS bus or even an USB 3.0 solution (but they are quite expensive ...).
 

Terry_Kennedy

Aspiring Daemon

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Messages: 892

#4
Just like in the past I going over this wonderful blog post of our own Terry_Kennedy

https://www.glaver.org/raidzilla25/
Thanks!

You can get working LTO drives pretty inexpensively (I won an eBay auction for a TL2000 library with an LTO4 SAS drive for $9.99 at the beginning of 2018) but at the lower end of the price scale there are also people dumping completely worn-out drives. Every time a new generation of LTO comes out, companies start selling off the older drives. LTO8 drives are starting to appear, which means that used LTO5 and LTO6 prices should start dropping once everyone who wants an LTO8 drive buys one. [LTO8 is an exception to the "2 generations back" rule, as it can only read/write LTO7 and can't do anything with LTO6.]

If you don't need maximum capacity (and it sounds like you don't), LTO4 is probably the "sweet spot" right now in terms of inexpensive but useful drives (LTO3 and older are pretty much "paperweights" by now at 400GB/tape or less).

There aren't that many companies making actual LTO drives these days - most companies just slap their branding on a mechanism from IBM or Quantum. The drives are often locked to that manufacturer's "flavor" of firmware, and some manufacturers don't have open downloads for the firmware or don't even bother releasing their flavor of firmware for older drives.

I like the IBM drives - you can get "real" IBM-flavor firmware from Lenovo instead of dealing with IBM's paywall, and even if you get an OEM flavor, the latest firmware is usually available in your flavor. IBM also has a very nice tape diagnostic tool (ITDT) which runs in either CLI or graphics mode on Windows or Linux (and AIX, but I don't think anybody here cares). You can just boot a Linux LiveCD that has ITDT and test your drive that way.
 
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