I need to talk to someone who uses LTO Ultrium tapes/LTFS! (tape file system)

Either somebody here, or if you can point me to forums anywhere on the interwebs that I can sign up to to talk to people who use these with any regularity just to ask some questions only they would know.

Specific question example - does LTFS (tape file system) store fine grained timestamp information? What flexibility do I have for file systems (ext3, ext4, brtfs, NTFS) under LTFS? And similar verification of things I think I know but need to be sure before I plunk down 2 grand for a tape drive.

If anyone knows of others in the future (until I post that i've discovered all I need, or committed to buying the tape drive already) please still send me a message even if you don't bump this topic. :)


My project is storing LOTS and lots of digital video (at least many dozens of terabytes in the future, and decent chances of over 100tb if things work out opportunistically - ie access to a Red Weapon 8k cinema camera plus a 16 camera motion capture stage) and needing to have a system planned out that can eat and back up everything I throw at it without ever losing or silently corrupting a single bit!

I am in the process of designing up a D2D2T (disk to disk to tape) data migration project which moves extensive digital video data to a RAIT (redundant array of inexpensive tape) meaning parity tapes can recover for any missing/broken tape in the set! The disk stage alone is planned to be capable of growing from 32TB to 300TB in the future at least on the primary NAS/SAN. I am planning to use SnapRAID at least for the second stage of that process (tape preparation from the second NAS) because it does automatic data validity verification, creates parity files and enables RAID like functionality over the top of the file system. This lets me write these parity files (which are written to physically separate disks as protection from individual disk failure) to tape and apparently restore from as well. (and once the server configuration is restored, a missing volume from the drive array should be fully restorable - I plan to test this of course with an initial 3 data/1 parity 7.5TB data set before scaling up.)
 
I guess my big question is how is it capable of being used cross platform, the impression I was given was that whether you were running Windows, MacOSX, or Linux, you could drag'n'drop files to and from tape, with no loss of metadata. So if LTFS is the filesystem my assumption was that it either saved all that losslessly, or is some kind of over-encompassing format readable cross platform as well. (meaning I could write some files from Windows, and later some files from Linux, and read them back on either machine as well) Since NTFS would contain bits that Ext3 probably does not I assumed it must save them all, to the precision needed by the original filesystem, otherwise taking a risk breaking functionality of your backups "not really being backups" afterall.

I was also under the impression no matter which tape drive wrote it (ie HP vs IBM or whatever) any could read LTFS because it was an agreed upon standard to get around proprietary backup software containers. (the only Option B I could consider would be if there is some filesystem level utility to let you separately save and export metadata to a file, which could be reimported when you copy it back to the original filesystem - NTFS or Ext3 for instance - even if manually)

Is there any "official" place to go and pick the brains of potential LTFS experts, or where i'm likely to find server grade humans used to working with it?

I tried reading the official specifications page but i'm having some difficulty parsing things...