Quantum FC LTO5 Drive - $26 Used Untested

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Rttg

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May 21, 2020
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Yeaah, I didn’t know if the enclosure worked like a single drive shelf, adapting the drive interface. I did see the FC - makes things somewhat less appealing…
 
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DavidWJohnston

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When you shuck the drive, it's still FC. Inside the metal box there are little 3" duplex LC fiber optic cables that connect the drive's transceivers to the outer ports. 8G FC PCIe cards are very inexpensive, and it's plug & play if you're using Windows.

And you really do need a fan. It only needs a tiny amount of airflow, but with zero airflow they will meltdown when doing a long job.
 

Samir

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With it being FC and having FC ports on the back, why not just power the enclosure and use it externally?
 

DavidWJohnston

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It's not shown in the pictures, but the enclosure is powered by a proprietary hot-swap type connector connector for inside those big tape libraries.

The connector probably carries power, plus the signals needed to activate the drive, eject the tape, etc.

It probably wouldn't be that hard to do a bit of RE and figure out how to do it. I never tried, nor did I research it. When I first took the cover off I saw the molex connector on the drive and decided to try that out.
 

ZFSZealot

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Aug 16, 2021
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Yes FC is not familiar SAS or SATA but the FC card and cable to interface with it is dirt cheap, and if you buy a FC switch, the really cool thing about it is you can access it from anything wired into your fabric. Put in simpler terms, if you do something like what I did and put this in an old computer case with PSU and fan and connect it to the FC switch, and connect multiple computers to that switch, you will see the tape drive from all those computers. What this means is you can use the drive from a Windows PC, Linux server, FreeBSD server, etc.

And these are plenty fast - in the neighborhood of 140-280 MB/sec depending on compression and have a large enough capacity to still be useful in 2023 depending on what you need to store.
 

DavidWJohnston

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Yes, you're right it is a cool setup, it's similar to what I'm doing - I actually have 3 HP LTO5 drives. And I bought an ancient SN6000 8G FC switch for $90. It needs an ancient browser with ancient Java to access the web GUI. But I have other devices like this, so I run an MS ThinPC (Win7-based) VM running IE8, with internet blocked. That's what I use to access all my obsolete admin GUIs.

Only one of my ESXi hosts has an FC card (a quad port). I pci-passthru each port to the VMs I want to access the drives, plus an FC card in my main workstation. ESXi does have the ability to natively handle FC, but it appears to not work with tape drives. So I use pcie-passthru of the multi-port card.

For software, I run a combination of LTFS (freely available) and Retrospect Desktop ($99/year subscription). The advantage of Retrospect is it's incredibly easy to use, keeps track of multi-tape jobs, and it can achieve full LTO5 bandwidth.
 
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ZFSZealot

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Yes, you're right it is a cool setup, it's similar to what I'm doing - I actually have 3 HP LTO5 drives. And I bought an ancient SN6000 8G FC switch for $90. It needs an ancient browser with ancient Java to access the web GUI. But I have other devices like this, so I run an MS ThinPC (Win7-based) VM running IE8, with internet blocked. That's what I use to access all my obsolete admin GUIs.

Only one of my ESXi hosts has an FC card (a quad port). I pci-passthru each port to the VMs I want to access the drives, plus an FC card in my main workstation. ESXi does have the ability to natively handle FC, but it appears to not work with tape drives. So I use pcie-passthru of the multi-port card.

For software, I run a combination of LTFS (freely available) and Retrospect Desktop ($99/year subscription). The advantage of Retrospect is it's incredibly easy to use, keeps track of multi-tape jobs, and it can achieve full LTO5 bandwidth.
Yeah I think ESXi just has FC card support so it can use SAN targets for datastores.

This is going way way off topic for this forum but I'd be interested to hear what you're using for LTFS. I'm using FreeBSD for storage but there seems to be this odd thing where it only supports IBM or Dell drives for LTFS and I have HP. NFS mounting files on Linux or Windows just to drive the tape seems less than optimal. I should start a topic elsewhere though...
 

DavidWJohnston

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I only use Windows to access the LTO drives. It's just a lot easier, and the software support is much better. My systems back up to a large TrueNAS share that's accessible from both NFS and SMB. This is mounted on my backup server, and then sent out to the tapes. If I want to bring something out of cold storage, I use the backup server to restore it into TrueNAS, then it's available through the NFS/SMB mount, or if it's a one-off I'll use SCP/WinSCP, or the VMRC USB drive redirection to copy it to a VM on an isolated network segment.

I use the HPE StorOpen and LTFS from here: HPE StoreOpen and Linear Tape File System (LTFS) Software | HPE Store Canada

The Windows Explorer interface with LTFS is not optimal, at least for me I get about 50 MB/s. Luckily, there is a tool called "ltfscopy.exe" included with the HP software that can copy at full performance. I suppose it's like RoboCopy or similar. For actual backup jobs I use Retrospect. It is really easy to use, unlike a lot of free options.

The Windows HP LTO tools and LTFS software has a really handy interface for testing, mounting, and info, so if you can, maybe Windows would be a better choice. Here is what they look like:

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When you mount LTFS, you can treat it like any other drive letter, but as above use ltfscopy.exe for full speed.
 
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baiyibai

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Mar 18, 2023
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@DavidWJohnston thank you for posting about being able to shuck the drive. None of these listings give a good enough view of the power connectors, so I thought this was impossible. This gives me some more options in my own LTO project.

To anyone knowledgeable, I have a problem.

My main system is running out of PCIe slots and lanes. However, I have another PC with 2x M.2 NVMe slots (one is PCIe 3.0 and the other is PCIe 4.0). Is it possible to either:
a) Run an 8 Gbps FC HBA (PCIe 2.0 8 lane) with only half the lanes? 4 Gbps is still 500 Mbps, which should be more than enough to keep this drive maxed out.
b) Run a 4 Gbps FC HBA and connect this LTO tape drive to it?

The last time I played with fiber channel was in the summer of 2000 when I was buying 8 GB used fiber channel drives for $10/piece... as I recall a 27 GB IDE hard drive was about $300 around the same time. I made my own adapters on perfboard based on a guide someone posted to hardocp. I had a Qlogic 64-bit PCI card which I plugged into a 32-bit slot. The four hard drives sounded like a jet engine when I powered them up. Oh right, it was three drives, I fried the first one by swapping the 12 V and 5 V rail. My genius plan was to run the 50 foot fiber channel cable I bought from the basement of my parents house to my room on the second floor; I'd gotten the idea since my father had helped me run Cat5 all around the house. Unfortunately, I remember the drivers didn't work well in Windows 98/2000... the OS paused every couple seconds. I called QLogic support and remember being told that the card was end-of-life. I didn't give up on this dream for a while. I contacted the original poster and proposed that we go into business filling up old Sun Microsystems Model 411 External SCSI Hard Drive enclosures, putting refurbished drives in - along with the db9(?) connectors, and sell them on ebay. At the time, ebay was full of equipment from companies which had gone out of business during the first dotcom boom and bust. Good memories.
 
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DavidWJohnston

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You can run these on 4G FC cards. I have an old Cisco Nexus 5020 with a 4G FC blade, and that's how I used to run them. It worked fine.

You should also be able to run an FC card (or virtually any PCIe card) with a reduced number of lanes, at reduced performance just fine.

I run a quad port 8G QLogic QLE2564 HBA which works great, and was cheap. The transceivers are also removable from the drive. So you can use single mode or a DAC if you want. Older FC SFPs are extremely cheap.

I've included some pics of the inside of the LTO enclosure and drive. Mine are slightly different from the listing, but my guess would be they're very similar.

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Rear of the actual drive itself:
1695061551104.png
 

bwahaha

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Jun 9, 2023
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Yes, thank you, @DavidWJohnston

These are 5.25 drives, right? If I had a couple of free bays. could I just slap it right in there (or the chance, depending on chassis)?
 

DavidWJohnston

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Yes, they are standard 5.25 double-height. They can be mounted in PC cases. In fact the mounting holes are the same thread (M3) and position.

So the bottom-half of the tape drive has the holes in the same place as a DVD drive. Not all cases can take a full-height, but some can especially older ones.
 
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reasonsandreasons

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May 16, 2022
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Too tempting to resist--thank you for all this info! I'm trying to avoid building a dedicated offsite backup system and hopefully this is the ticket.

Could I just use a standard SFP/SFP+ DAC here, or are their custom cables needed? I'll be routing the cable from the inside of my chassis to the outside, so I'd prefer not to use fibre.
 
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