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LTO for Nearline Storage

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Bob Schweizer
LTO for Nearline Storage
on Nov 26, 2013 at 4:30:39 pm

Hello Everyone,

I am researching a workflow that uses LTO tape for nearline storage. My research has generated a few questions and I believe I can get the best answers for them on this forum.

1. I would like to know how many of you use LTO as nearline storage as well as for archiving?
2. Is it a generally accepted practice to use tape as nearline storage instead of a NAS of SAN?
3. If you do use LTO for nearline, have you had many problems with it?
4. How fast can a project be retrieved from tape and be available on your online system?

Thanks,

Bob Schweizer

Bob Schweizer
Media Coordinator
AboutFace Media Inc.


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Tim Jones
Re: LTO for Nearline Storage
on Nov 26, 2013 at 6:43:11 pm

I can answer these from both a user and a vendor perspective, but YMMV.

Because our BRU products can get to any file on an LTO tape (4, 5, or 6) in under 5 minutes when you need it back, LTO makes a very reasonable nearline solution. Using one customer's workflow as an example:

Working with a remote shoot location
  • Projects are duplicated from the remote Unity ISIS array to a local disk array over a very big pipe
  • On the local end, the folder structure is checked and fixed
  • The operator then creates a job and runs it to two tape destinations at the same time
  • Once completed, one set is packaged and vaulted while the second set is moved into a larger tape library for their nearline
  • Since the BRU operation verified both sets of data, the operator clears the local array for the next set of data
  • Lather, rinse, repeat

At this point, if the data is needed online, the operator searches the catalogs for the folders or clips needed and restores them from the large library.

The restore takes around 6 minutes to start - 80 secsĀ± to load the tape from its slot and get it ready in the drive and then up to 4 minutes to start restoring the data depending on where on the tape the selected data physically resides. The actual time to restore is, of course, dependent on the amount of data, but LTO-5 can restore at over 140MB/sec and LTO-6 tops 180MB/sec (at least with BRU).

This same workflow can work with a smaller operation and a standalone tape drive. Just be sure to work out a tape labeling scheme that makes it easy for you to find the proper physical tape when you need to retrieve something. The key being that by creating 2, verified and audited copies, you can now safely clear your online storage for current jobs and slow or stop the spiraling mountain of disk purchases.

For reference, if you need to restore from LTO-5 tape, it will deliver data at 500GB/hour - that's 3 hours for a full 1.5TB tape. For an LTO-6 tape, that number increases to 640GB/hour - 4 hours for a completely full tape. This is far faster than a NAS over 1GbE (360GB/hour) - unless you are using 10GbE for connectivity.

Is this "generally accepted?" That is a good question. Most of us are creating completely new workflows and there really aren't many "norms" for this new world. It really is a "what works for my workflow" that ends up mattering.

For me and very many of our customers, using LTO for nearline storage works very well.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Bob Schweizer
Re: LTO for Nearline Storage
on Nov 26, 2013 at 7:09:11 pm

Tim,

Thank you very much for this info and the time you taken to answer my questions. Your answers will make a big difference in how I put together a workflow for my Company.

Bob Schweizer

Bob Schweizer
Media Coordinator
AboutFace Media Inc.


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