No. of Recommendations: 0
JeanDavid - I do not and will have not have the answer you want i.e. making tape work. But if you are wanting backups, I may be able to help. That said, I am curious how much data you have to backup and how many backups you keep in the bank. You mentioned the number 12. As I recall you have a significant number of HDD on your machine, but twelve 2 TB drives seems like a very large amount of data.

[this got king-of long. I should not get up so early.]

It is not the amount of data that requires that number of drives. It is only about 30 GB of data that would need to go on any one drive. The machine with the 6 hard drives is now history. It died when powering it up after Sandy passed by this way. It ran a bit over 9 years 24/7, but was powered up less than 60 times. I no longer do the database work I was doing with that machine. And 4 of those drives were small (about 20 GBytes each). The reason was that I needed a lot of spindles, not a lot of data capacity. If I were going to do that again now, I would replace those drives with a single large SDD. But I do not do that stuff any more, so I do not need a lot of spindles or a lot of capacity. Right now, if I were not going to run Windows on this machine, the 350 GByte drive that came with it would be enough for everything.

I keep a full backup every night (when I am asleep). And I do not have all that much data on Windows anyway. I do a daily backup every Monday through Saturday, and another one every Sunday. That is 6 tapes + 1 Tape each week. The daily tapes are therefore rewritten every 7 days. The Sunday tapes are re-written once a month. I happen to store those at home (in a room separate from the computers. Once a month, I do a monthly tape (that is 12 more tapes) that are stored at the bank. That way, I can always go back up to 7 days, exactly in case of disaster or operator incompetence. I can also go back to any previous Sunday for the previous month, and any first-of-month for the previous year.

Consider what happens using a different scheme. If I use one tape, and it screws up while making that tape. Then I have no backup.

If I use two tapes, I can always go back to the previous day.

But what if I do not realize I lost a file until a month or two after I created a it, that I lost it? It will not be on any of the backups. This has happened to me where I used to work. I had to re-write a program from scratch by memory that I had written about a year previously. No fun when all the documentation was on that machine too, and that lost also.

Now one of those 750 GByte drives will not quite make a month of backups, but I might be able to reduce the size of a "full" backup to those, so I could squeeze a month's supply onto one of those drives. Also, I understand WD now make 1 GB and 2 GB models that might hold a month's supply of that stuff. Now that I think about it, I might just have 2 of those for Windows, that would barely be used, and two more for Linux. And 12 monthly tapes for Linux, and hope that the two passports will save enough Windows so I can get my taxes back. During the year I run Windows about once a month to do all the updates, especially the anti-virus stuff.

The reason I want really separate backup media is so that if something happens to the media (and I imagine carrying external drives around is more risky than relatively inert tape cartridges).

This is really an "insurance" problem. I generally restore a file or two a year, and that is due to my fumbling and deleting one. Last year, I had to restore a vast number of files because of operator incompetence. I stuck the backup tape in the machine, and went to lunch. It was all back when I got home. I Have run as many as three computers at home for a while, but two is more usual. I really need only one. I used to need two because I did not want to run Windows on my main computer. But I need it once a year to do my taxes. The reason I had three was because I needed an new one, and the other two were working. Before getting rid of the oldest, I wanted to play around with networking, so I hooked the two older ones to the newest one. And my printer was on one of the older ones. No router at the time; I made my newest computer do the routing, firewalling, etc. When I got tired of that, I gave away the oldest computer. My newest one does run Windows and Linux, and I cannot take Windows off it. Well, I know how, but the manufacturer wants it on there so they can do maintenance and warranty on it, so I just left the drive it was on in the machine and put in two more for Linux. That is way more disk space than I need, but when a Terabyte SATA drive is less than $70, I figured out it was almost impossible not to put two of those in there. (Actually, I could plug another of those in there too, but I already have more disk space than I will ever use.) My first hard drives required 3 phase power to run the big motor, ran around 2400 rpm and held 40 Megabytes. The disk assembly could be removed and replaced in about a minute. Size of a top loading washing machine, and cost $40,000. We have come a long way since about 1970!
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.