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Author Topic: Does anyone use LTO for storage or archiving image files?  (Read 14434 times)
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« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2013, 03:34:48 PM »

No, they are not. If they were, and the people making them were that convinced, they would offer longevity in writing. They don't.

HP, lifetime LTO media warranty.
Quantum, lifetime LTO media warranty.

Please show me one independent study of LTO that proves its longevity for archival purposes.


One, two, three.

The request is a trap, however, because you demand something of LTO you don't demand of HDD, while claiming HDDs offer better odds, without explaining or citing how.

Plus, neither "archival" nor "proof" apply in the realm of storage technology anyway, it's life expectancy and probability respectively. "Archival medium" per ANSI IT9-5 is something that retains data without significant loss essentially forever, and such a medium doesn't exist, and is thus a term that shouldn't be used. Since it's in our vernacular, I think it can be used if qualified, but it's still subjective.

I don't understand. One is always sifting through tape,

If one is always sifting through tape, you're using it wrong.

That's just LTO marketing rehashed.

A huge amount of research and statistical probability is applied to these specifications. It is grossly incorrect to call a published error rate in a product specification "just marketing". Error rates comes from engineering, a part of a product's technical design, which happen to also be used in marketing materials.

Billions of people have perfectly fine workflows, of every magnitude imaginable, without even knowing about LTO.

A 2010 estimate places the cost of data loss in the billions of dollars. But that's a perfectly fine workflow according to you.

LTO data can be lost forever, too. So, if I really cared about my data, I'll just make more backups with hard drives. I don't see any flaw in this reasoning.

When HDD and LTO are stored correctly, LTO data loss is extraordinarily rare compared to HDD.

If you value money, when two things offer the same value proposition, choose the cheaper one. It's common sense. Since when has that become weird?

It's a dishonest argument because at every turn you assume HDD and LTO are equal, except when it comes to cost.

I wrote:
If you can offer better odds over any other, you should produce your process. LTO has done this.

You replied:
Hard drives do. I offer better odds for hard drive duplication over LTO. Everyone's doing it.

Look at that, you merely repeated yourself. I said, produce your process, which means document it precisely so other people can reproduce your results. Otherwise you're just saying things, and saying things doesn't make them true.

You started this post admitting HDDs aren't "archival", yet you offer better odds with drives over LTO, yet you admit you're not qualified on technical details, and you've provided no documentation or study demonstrating how you can "offer better odds" with HDD over LTO.

The way Google does this with consumer drives is with their home grown GFS cluster file system, involving hundreds to thousands of nodes for redundancy, and yet they still use LTO.

LTO doesn't make sense for most photographers. But somewhere in the vicinity of 25TB, +/- 10TB, it makes sense to consider it. A huge percentage of a typical photographer's archive is inactive, so why spend the energy, and required maintenance, for all that data to be on spinning disks? Even if shelved, disk LE is lower, UER higher, and cost per GB higher, than tape.
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2013, 12:42:41 AM »

You started this post admitting HDDs aren't "archival", yet you offer better odds with drives over LTO, yet you admit you're not qualified on technical details, and you've provided no documentation or study demonstrating how you can "offer better odds" with HDD over LTO.

You are right. Thank you for providing me the links. Appreciate it.


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« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2013, 07:31:25 PM »

I am new to this forum, but I hope the following can contribute something to this discussion:

I have been using tape in one form or another for over thirty years. In that time there have been some truly horrible tape-based backup solutions. Most of the problems, however, had less to do with tape and tape drives and more to do with arcane software that contributed to poor policies and procedures. Having said that, I have used LTO tapes since shortly after the introduction of LTO-2. I did have a few reliability problems with the early drives from Certance, but I never had a problem recovering data from tape, if, that is, the data was actually written to tape in the first place.

In terms of reliability of tape vs. disk, the disk vendors don't specify a shelf life for non-spinning disks, and usually estimate the life of spinning disks as about five years. (I have a network server in my house that has been running for more than ten years with the same hard disk, so your mileage may vary.) Based on accelerated age testing, LTO tape should have a shelf live of at least thirty years. It also has a bit error rate about a hundredth of consumer-grade SATA hard disks.

I think spinning hard disks and cloud or personal cloud backups are great for day-to-day operation, but I think LTO tape should be considered for archiving and tertiary storage by anyone with a reasonably large image library. As image sizes grow and we add video to the mix, that category will soon include most of us. LTO has proven itself to be a very reliable backup solution. On other thing--online disk backups are susceptible to problems that are less likely to affect off-line tape. Just ask Google:


Patrick Corrigan
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