I have concerns regarding storage of video projects on portable drives. Right now I have about 8 terrabytes of HD projects that have been back-up on a slew of multiple drives and it's becoming a bit of a problem. I was thinking about purchasing an LTO 4 deck for project storage. What are your thoughts? I don't need any network storage capability and the LTO-4 might be overkill. I just need a simple solution that allows me to back up my projects on tape that I can access fairly easily. I'm not too concerned about speed. What are my options?
Tiered storage is what is needed. If you saw into LTO (or any other) tapes constantly or often, there will be physical or data accidents to mention. Using an intermediate hard drive storage makes for a reduction of these accidents accordingly. Since you have already determined that LTO-4 storage looks like your plan, I would say that changing your plan probably means aiming for LTO-3 or LTO-5. The Arrays and Raid topic has some questions and answers too but you are on your way.
[John Heaney]"Right now I have about 8 terrabytes of HD projects that have been back-up on a slew of multiple drives"
John, if knowing what is where is part of your concern, you may want to check out a marvelous program called CD Finder. It will index a hard drive (or a CD) and provide a way to search for folders or files, even when the hard drive is not connected to your computer.
You question is a very common one that I see asked a lot. In my experience the cheap portable hard drives will fail much more frequently than any tape based backup / archival solution. It's not so much that the physical drives themselves fail, but the interface goes bad (ie. Firewire, USB, eSata, etc) and will prevent you from mounting the drive.
I think a good question to ask yourself is 'Do I need a backup solution OR a archival solution?' Tapes make for a great ARCHIVAL solution. One that you may / may not need to access frequently and can be stored off-site. A loaded Drobo-FS makes for a great BACKUP solution. Something in-house that you can access extremely easily and has loads of storage to keep multiple versions of a file and is not crazy expensive. The Drobo also has an extra safety feature in that the data is spread over multiple drives in a Raid-5 configuration so you 'somewhat' negate the single drive failure scenario.
The storage is only part of the equation. Next is software. I've been using Retrospect for years and find it extremely valuable in searching / restoring projects from a backup or archive. The great thing about it is it doesn't care which medium you're using. It can be anything, tape, removable disk, ftp, DVD, etc. Another program to look at is CrashPlan by Code42. It's a great app that will let you backup to disk (any type of disk, in any configuration) or to the 'cloud' (it doesn't support tape based systems yet)
Hope this helps you in finding a backup / archival solution. If you have any questions feel to ask.