Anyone using tape drives?

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May 3, 2020
I have about 60TB of data stored accross 1TB-8TB drives in 3 machines+boxes. Dell T7610 and Lenovo P510 won't identify >3TB SATA. Need a (ideally) cheap solution. Is anyone using tape drives for cold storage? What tape backup systems+tape types would you recommend?


Well-Known Member
Apr 21, 2017
Tape is not that cheap. It can take several full work weeks to get open source solutions running well. I presume your time is worth something. Much less time is required but more expensive will be a closed-source solution like Veeam. At home I run LTO5 and LTO6 with Bareos backup software, a Bacula fork. I back up around the 50 TB ballpark on LTO 6 in quarterly fulls. That is 20 tapes and around 100 hours. In between are incrementals, which are switched to one differential every 32 days, to LTO 5. Storage is ZFS and ZFS snapshot support was added by me through scripts that are run before and after jobs. You really want some form of snapshots so your backups are consistent, even when writes happen while a job is running. In addition to make the tape collection independent of what happens to the backup server with its Postgresql database, which hosts the backup history and file catalog, I run a "disaster recovery" job after every successful main job that saves the SQL database, as well as Arch package build sources of the backup software, and its current configuration to tape as well.

How much engineering do you want to do yourself? Just as a "1-0-1" (second copy, offsite) or "1-0-0" (not offsite) component for 3-2-1 backup scheme, a Synology with 8 bays and 16 TB SATA drives in RAID6 would be easier. Some models have an expansion port for 8 more disks.

And how cold in storage? Be aware that the only true cold storage compatible solutions are DVD+-R/RW/RAM, BD-R written at 1x perferably up to 2 layers and HTL not LTH media, and tape. Everything else, like SSD or HDD needs to be kept running online, so monthly "scrubbing" of checksums of data and metadata can happen, and you are notified if something is up. Otherwise if you write a 14 TB USB drive and put it in a locker for a few years, chances are after some 3-10 years your data will be at least partially unreadable.