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Sam Lee
Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 13, 2014 at 5:50:34 pm

It has come to a point where I simply have to use LTO-6 as a viable long-term media. Sadly, the HGST 3 Tb drives that I bought 3 years ago are showing bad sectors big time. Of the 140 batch, about 8 already shown. That's very disturbing. Luckily, I made two backups and never did the two backups gone bad. Not to say that it will never happen, there's still that small chance. In general hdd is something I simply can't to to sleep on after couple years. HDDs are still needed because of their very fast response time. But for long-term, off-line storage, they're a ticking decaying time bomb. I do not like having to refresh every other year to keep it alive. It's very costly in power utility bill.

I'm using the HP 6250. The LTFS is great when you archive. But restoring it is another story. It's snail pace vs backup. Just not what I have in mind for LTO-6. I'm very concerned that in a decade from now, will that LTO-6 still be able to recover on the latest Mac Pro or whatever name they have in 2024. My archives are mostly priceless & timeless raw cam originals from P2 all the way to F55 4K SxS. I will keep them all and always want the original vs. the transcoded version. Those are ideal for LTO because it doesn't change a lot. I average about 40-50 Tb per month in raw content. Purchasing twin 4 Tb hdds add up quickly. The latest price for HP MP LTO-6 media is about $70. A $40 drop just 6 months ago when it was $110. That's quite attractive now to get into LTO-6.

It looks like the top two candidates are BRU PE or PreRoll post. I'm still skeptical on PreRoll post as it's fairly new to the market and don't know if they're in biz in the next decade or more. Imagine Products is a small company. Has not yet established long-term and that's a risk. Anybody has any opinions on them? I need to make a good decision and would prefer to stick to a single software solution for many years to come.


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 13, 2014 at 6:18:15 pm

[Sam Lee] "The LTFS is great when you archive. But restoring it is another story. It's snail pace vs backup. Just not what I have in mind for LTO-6."

Keep in mind that PreRoll Post uses LTFS...

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


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Sam Lee
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 13, 2014 at 6:29:28 pm

I'm relatively new to this LTFS thing. For me, LTFS just doesn't correspond to enterprise scale archival. It's more for simple, smaller scale manual backup. No spanning and verification is a no-no for me. The time if take to manually sort each hdd to 2.5 Tb to fit LTO-6 max capacity is already eating up too much valuable time. Both apps cost the same. I'm leaned toward purchasing BRU PE within this week. Will start to archive 120 3 Tb hdds and 150 4 Tb hdds. Don't want to waste time starting w/ LTFS and then switch to another format 1/3 of the way into the long archival process.


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Tom Goldberg
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 14, 2014 at 4:59:33 pm

Sam,

While I'll agree that LTFS is not without its pitfalls, we see growing traction for it becoming the standard for writing to LTO in the media and entertainment realm. It is unlikely if you were to get started with a good solution that you would find you have to change.

I would note that several manufacturers, including Cache-A, have addressed the issues you are encountering. We support tape spanning as do, for example Crossroads and SDNA. We also solve the restore speed issue you've identified - this occurs when restore file lists are not in the order the files reside on tape, causing the tape to have to shuttle back and forth to the start of each file. Our LTFS restores are always presorted for tape order and can be just as fast as archiving.

You should be aware that we are seeing more and more interchange and delivery being specified for LTFS and traditional tar being used only for in house archiving (we support both formats). For example, Discovery Communications now accepts from its content producers only LTFS for delivery of footage, graphics and program masters for all its various channels.

Tom Goldberg
Cache-A Corporation
433 Park Point Drive #285
Golden, CO 80401
mailto:tom.goldberg@cache-a.com
http://cache-a.com




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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 16, 2014 at 5:06:52 pm

[Tom Goldberg] "I would note that several manufacturers, including Cache-A, have addressed the issues you are encountering. We support tape spanning as do, for example Crossroads and SDNA"

And, you pay quite a premium to get theses add-on abilities. These "features" also add a layer above LTFS that then obviate the LTFS open source status since you're now adding proprietary wrappers around the LTFS core to get that new functionality.

  • LTFS - Free with your drive
  • BRU PE - $499
  • PreRoll Post - $499
  • Cache-A - PowerCache (required starting point) $10,995, 48 Slot, LTO-6 Library for tape support - $10,795
  • Crossroads - StrongBox is available in three models, starting at $20,000 and scaling according to archive capacity and capabilities. StrongBox T1 manages up to 200 million files. StrongBox T3 manages up to 500 million files, and StrongBox T3 Advanced manages up to five billion files.
  • StorageDNA - no hard pricing data has been made available, but some customers have indicated that the "get your foot in the door" pricing is over $10 and rises quickly for larger installations.

As you can see, you can get these added "features" from these vendors - but you need to be prepared for the sticker shock that accompanies what you think that you're getting for free.

[Tom Goldberg] "For example, Discovery Communications now accepts from its content producers only LTFS for delivery of footage, graphics and program masters for all its various channels."

And, according to our conversation with the folks at Discovery, their number one support issue is the inability to read LTFS tapes sent in from Clients.

BRU Server M&E and BRU PE, on the other hand, cost $499 and take care of all of these issues by NOT using LTFS. The tapes created are truly compatible across over 24 operating systems, provide full verification and autidability - even long after the backup operation - works with all vendors' tape and library devices and don't require that you search for your tape vendor's proper LTFS drivers and support packages.

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


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Tom Goldberg
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 16, 2014 at 6:11:35 pm
Last Edited By Tom Goldberg on Jan 16, 2014 at 6:14:22 pm

Sorry Tim, but I need to correct some of the information in your reply.

[Tim Jones] "These "features" also add a layer above LTFS that then obviate the LTFS open source status since you're now adding proprietary wrappers around the LTFS core "

There are no "layers" or "wrappers" used - all tapes are still LTFS conforming and interchangeable - not proprietary. For example, for spanning what we do (as I believe other manufacturers do) is simply automatically re-create your file tree as needed across tapes. This would be exactly the same as if you manually copied a too-large data set across several disk drives.

[Tim Jones] "Cache-A - PowerCache (required starting point) $10,995, 48 Slot, LTO-6 Library for tape support - $10,795"

You can certainly go big with Cache-A's premier solution of a Power-Cache and Library, but this is not a required starting point. All LTFS capabilities are in all Cache-A models (except Simul-Copy which requires at least 2 drives). Our entry unit which is a self-contained appliance with an LTO-5 drive starts at $7995 including all hardware, software and warrantied for 1 year with support, ready to go out of the box and fully tar and LTFS capable. No cards to install or software to load, just connect it to your network and start archiving.

[Tim Jones] "according to our conversation with the folks at Discovery, their number one support issue is the inability to read LTFS tapes sent in from Clients"

Discovery may have had early LTFS delivery issues, but they are still very much committed to the format and are working past startup issues with their content producers. They do have some special requirements that, while not making their tapes proprietary, do require specific files and LTFS formatting parameters to write them correctly. Cache-A's latest releases write tapes that pass 2 out of 3 of Discovery's delivery specifications (Footage Masters and Graphics Masters) and the 3rd spec'd tape (Program Masters) is at Discovery for validation as I write this.

Tom Goldberg
Cache-A Corporation
433 Park Point Drive #285
Golden, CO 80401
mailto:tom.goldberg@cache-a.com
http://cache-a.com




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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 16, 2014 at 8:11:14 pm

Tom -

If the user doesn't buy those various solutions - they get none of those features. That's my point. Maybe "propriety" wasn't the right word, but the lack of your (and their) extra cost components means that the user doesn't gain access to those features without spending quite a bit more money (your's being the lesser of the crowd).

I was comparing LTO-6 to LTO-6. If you wish to compare LTO-5, then our solution drops to $6,973. And, because we ARE connected by direct attach SAS (which only adds $499 if you need Thunderbolt II), you get full drive performance of 140MB/sec (LTO-5) or 180MB/sec (LTO-6) instead of 1GbE speed (~85MB/sec to 95MB/sec). I understand that you try to mitigate this buy performing the disk-tape copy out of band so that the network isn't involved in that step, but the user is still going to be impacted by the network infrastructure when originally copying the clips.

As for Discovery, it's not just "early" issues as I've just gotten off a call with a producer that is VERY frustrated as Discovery have returned their LTFS tapes multiple times - and this is very recently. You can be as committed as you like to a given mechanism, but if the mechanism is flawed, all of the commitment in the world isn't going to resolve the problems.

Again, none of those issues or additional financial overhead exist with BRU.

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


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Sam Lee
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 17, 2014 at 2:57:34 am
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jan 17, 2014 at 3:02:17 am

So far after several days of use w/ the BRU PE 3.0.2, I do like the fact that I don't have to install these annoying HP LTFS drivers and the two other sub drivers. Just the ATTO H680 OSX 10.9.1 drivers and BRU 3.0.2 and be done with it. Archiving huge amount of data to LTO-6 now w/ BRU 3.0.2 in OSX Mavericks. Multitasking w/ FCP 10.1 on light edits. It's quite smooth and no crashing so far after 3 days straight. I'm looking in the long-term, like a decade from now and I have no idea what other flavors of LTFS will be out there. Need to restore all raw footage for a long-form, decade-long documentary media and BRU 3.0.2 seems to be able to have that ability.


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 17, 2014 at 3:59:44 pm
Last Edited By Tim Jones on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:25:34 pm

Sam - thank you for your consideration. We will always work very hard to make sure that BRU lives up to both our claims and your expectations. Unlike what some backup solution providers believe, those two things are NOT mutually exclusive :).

One thing that has been a stable element with BRU is our full support of old archives. The version of BRU that we create today MUST restore the data from some DDS-1, QIC150, and Exabyte 8200 8MM test tapes created as far back as 1988. Heck, even TAR can't make a claim of that level of backwards compatibility.

Please don't hesitate to make requests for new features since we serve no purpose if we're not doing what you need.

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


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Sam Lee
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:48:43 pm
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:55:34 pm

I'm still evaluating by performing various backup types and scenarios. So far I'm testing out the ability to send BRU archives to other TV stations nationally and internationally. The issue I came up with is when I export the catalog, it BRU 3.0.2 says it imports OK but it won't show up. It only shows up when I actually insert all the LTO-6 cartridges for the Import Tool.app and it will show up. I contacted support and will wait for their answer on this. The story to that 3.5 Tb archive is that the verification was cancelled. This is because I set the cache to a low 128 Kb and not 2048 Kb. Not sure if canceling verification has any effect on not being able to export the catalog out. On another Mac Pro, I took used import tool.app to rebuild the catalog and export it out to a hdd. Then I took that .bru file to another Mac and import it in. This is where the tape catalog will not show up in the Restore portion of the app no matter what or how many times I re-import that .bru catalog. Either a bug or user error here.

Feature request wise, still evaluating mode. But something will pop up for sure after that period. So far it appears that I'll have to get at least 3-4 LTO-6 drives and at least the same amount of BRU licenses for the volume of data I'm doing to be able to get the archives done quickly. Single LTO-6 drive won't work out at all.


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Kevin Francis
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 18, 2014 at 5:15:43 am

Sam,

We've used both BRU PE and PreRollPost. We had numerous issues with BRU PE over the couple of years we used it, the software's GUI is really inconsistent and buggy, and when you build up a good size library of archives, it takes forever for the program to load. PreRollPost uses LTFS, an open standard that is becoming more and more widely adopted, does provide MD5 checksum verification, and orders the files for quick backup and restore, and stores archive data in a MySQL Lite format, which is searchable within the application. If you've used the bare bones software HP or IBM provide, this is a different animal altogether. The program has improved in the past year quite a bit and they are very responsive to user feedback.

Most of the responders in the forum have a dog in the hunt, so to say. I'm just a user and have been using tape backup products for 15+ years or more. PRP might not be right for you, but people should definitely try it out before dismissing LTFS altogether. Along with BRU PE, it's really the most economical solution.



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Sam Lee
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 18, 2014 at 1:35:48 pm

I'm still evaluating the two apps. Only when one uses each after a good period, then its strength and weaknesses will be realized. Still only have a single LTO-6 drive for testing purposes. LTO-6 is not fast and it takes time especially backing up raw camera footage files.

On Pre Roll Post, will that PRP LTFS created backup be readable in BRU? I don't really mind using LTFS. But the drivers needed is a concern. Because I use LTO-6 strictly for very long-term archival and not backup, my need is to be able to restore that data many years from now and not having to dig up obsolete older version of LTFS driver just to be able to restore that data.

I used to do tape backups in the late 90s w/ DDS-3. Data capacity scale was in the 18-50 Gb range. Hdd was a premium. Used to remember a 4 Tb Seagate external SCSI-2 drive costed about $1K. Nowhere close to the TB range as seen today at 1/10 the cost. DDS-2 was quite unreliable for media archives and literally abandoned it for almost 20 years. DLT was hot during the early 2000s. But didn't really bothered to get into it because it was in the $4K range. Good thing I did not because DLT won't be able to archive Tb of data economically. Fast forward to now I'm out of touch w/ the latest in backup apps & software. I prefer not to use turnkey systems. Prefer the software and tape drive solution only. But whatever it's one thing for certain is that hdd will go bad on you at anytime - especially when it's sitting on the shelf for years w/ out powering it. About 8 of my 150 3 Tb hdds (only after 3 years) are all experiencing sector read errors. I don't know about LTO-6 media gone bad years even after full verify during the archive process. This hdd read sector error is unacceptable for my needs and LTO-6 is the only viable solution that is appealing in cost and overall flexibility.


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:30:33 pm

[Sam Lee] "will that PRP LTFS created backup be readable in BRU?"

As long as the PRP formatting used a unique serial number for the tape as it was created, BRU PE will import the tape's ToC and provide it in the Restore panel just like a BRU PE archive so that you can search it with the LTFS volume is unmounted. We distinguish LTFS tapes by their serial numbers (generated when the tape is formatted).

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


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Kiki Muchtar
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Feb 22, 2015 at 8:02:45 am

Hi Sam, which software you did choose to backup to LTO in the end? And why?


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:27:52 pm

Kevin - while you have run into some of the GUI issues that we've suffered with our UI through the versions, one thing that we're very proud of is that at no time has a BRU backup left you with a tape or disk based archive from which you could not restore. This cannot be said for any LTFS implementation.

For a perfect test example - select a few 10's of GB of data and start writing them to tape with BRU. Before the job finishes, shut the tape drive off (simulating a power loss. hard tape failure or system failure). BRU PE will complain and the job will abort. Now, perform the same steps with a mounted LTFS tape - drag and drop the same files to the LTFS tape and before the copy completes, power off the drive.

From this situation, everything that BRU had written onto the tape can be easily restored. However, you'll find that you can't even remount the LTFS volume. Now, imagine that you were actually 2TB into a 2.5TB job. Where would you rather be with that data?

Just saying' ...

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


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Doug Hynes
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 27, 2014 at 7:49:50 pm

Sorry - just checking in on this one recently.

The anecdotal information about StorageDNA pricing is incorrect.

Pricing of StorageDNA LTFS based solutions start under $8K and are turnkey, meaning they INCLUDE hardware, software, connectivity etc. and include many workflow features far and above just moving content from disk to tape.

Features like AAF/XML/EDL-based archive and restore jobs, conforming from LTO, camera master and NLE metadata search including Clip Names, metadata tagging, incremental archives and restores, lo-res proxy viewing, integration with CatDV, Avid Interplay Production and many others, ability to centrally manage more multiple libraries across an organization, Discovery Networks delivery formatting, import of any LTFS tape - to name just a few.

So, when you talk about pricing, please be sure to do a thorough comparison of what you are getting for $499.

Doug


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 27, 2014 at 9:06:45 pm

Hi Doug,

The price I mentioned was based on the number that one of our customers was quoted. It included a 2U Library and LTO-6. But as you mention, what your products provide is far and beyond the free LTFS that is open source. This is the point that I'm trying to get across in this discussion. LTFS does NOT bring all of that needed functionality to the game, the companies that provide the wrappers around LTFS such as both StorageDNA and Image Products do.

And, to the best of my knowledge, neither StorageDNA, Crossroads, Cache-A nor PreRoll Post products are open source. Thus my point that the discussion of "proprietary" totally depends on which part of the solution that you are looking at.

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


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Doug Hynes
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 27, 2014 at 10:39:56 pm

Tim -

When it comes down to it, many customers are actually looking for a more functional, open and workflow based solution - one that fits into their file-based pipelines and actually helps solve more of their challenges - not simply moving content from one place to another. If these features are not important to a customer, we (and they) walk away - as they are not our target audience.

As far as LTFS is concerned, your portrayal of it as an unreliable and unusable technology is just not true, as evidenced by the hundreds of customers we have using it every day in very critical environments.

One should also realize that Discovery's inability to read LTFS tapes submitted to them has more to do with their very specific naming, placement of files (data and metadata) requirements, rather than the LTFS format itself. We've had to make several tweeks to our Discovery features based on a customers' rejection from Discovery and not once has it had to do with the actual formatting of the tape. Once again, for this very specialized use case - many users are finding that it is worth paying for a good piece of software to be able to match those requirements - which DNA Evolution (and others) can do.

Even you have to admit - there must have been a reason why one of your own customers went as far as receiving a quote for a DNA Evolution system

- just sayin'

Regards,

Doug


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 27, 2014 at 11:19:24 pm

Doug,

You're correct, they got an SDNA quote (and a Cache-A quote, and a Quantum quote, and a SpectraLogic quote) and then bought our solution.

You (and others) have chosen to take the LTFS path as your primary tape format. This is a good thing because you have all brought many of the features that LTFS should have had built in to your users. We have chosen to support LTFS in a secondary roll with an understanding of its weaknesses and strengths. My point is that TANSTAAFL - LTFS is what it is, but you pay extra - very much extra in some cases - to make LTFS truly useable.

We sell a lot of BRU solutions to users that started with an LTFS option and became frustrated with the issues. The purpose of a backup / archival solution is to make sure that you can get the data back later. This is our focus - the reliability of the data written to the archival device regardless of it's type / technology. This is also why we don't write a MAM/DAM and instead partner with others to provide that part of the solution.

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


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Doug Hynes
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 28, 2014 at 1:17:26 am

Look, I think we all get "your point" and like Dan, this will be my last comment on this topic, as this horse was already dead before I felt compelled to correct the inaccurate StorageDNA pricing statement.


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 28, 2014 at 2:50:33 pm
Last Edited By Tim Jones on Jan 28, 2014 at 3:06:15 pm

To summarize for everyone else being entertained by this thread - my only points are:

  • LTFS is a simple format, like HFS+ or NTFS for tape
  • LTFS doesn't offer features that should be included at the low level such as verification, spanning, or robust protection from I/O failures.
  • There are documented failures of LTFS mount compatibility issues
  • You can add forms of these missing features and protections by purchasing other, wrapper solutions - which are as proprietary as any other tape solution.
  • The cost for these wrappers is not included in the LTFS layer and can cost many thousands of dollars (with PRP being the notable exception at $499).


The other vendors have felt it necessary to argue their point that LTFS is great but have provided nothing to refute any of these points.

Doug, my SDNA pricing statement wasn't inaccurate, so don't try to paint me in a bad light here. It just wasn't your cheapest solution. You then went on to try and belittle the $499 that we and Image Products charge for our software-only options by implying that you get less and that they are bad options.

Plus, if one person reads through this thread and questions the marketing claims that are being made - even if they decide to go with an LTFS-based solution - this discussion is not a dead horse.

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


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Dan Montgomery
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 20, 2014 at 3:08:50 pm

Sam,

We introduced PreRollPost at NAB 2012. Our company has been providing workflow solutions for the video industry since 1991--including many cataloging, backup, transcoding and library solutions on various platforms. (The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake used our Windows library system for their archives.)

Just a couple points to consider...LFTS is an open standard. That means there are *many* solutions out there supporting it, now and in the future. Tapes are interchangeable between them, and you can always get files off the tapes even without a given manufacturer's software.

When we were repeated asked to provide a LTFS solution it became immediately apparent that the big pitfall for software only solutions (where we're not providing the turnkey box as a pre-loaded appliance) was the driver installations. So PRP does all that for you with a single install click.

PRP has built-in tape spanning and tape duplication features. For spanning, we know video and break backup files logically so there is no tape dependencies (e.g. a given camera created volume will not be split between two tapes).

For best practices you should always make at least two copies of archives and store them in different locations. (If the sprinkler goes off it doesn't matter how the tapes are formatted they're going to be ruined.)

PreRollPost can control two or more tape drives at the same time to write identical tapes for you. Or you can mount and duplicate a tape-to-tape later at any time.

As for the power interruption scenario, first of all something as essential as a backup station should be on a UPS if for no other reason than power conditioning. But if a write session is stopped by power outage LTFS does have recovery options such as mounting the tape in 'Read Only' mode or deep data recovery tools. These are built into PRP to assist you.

Let me be clear, you can damage any tape by power off during a write session--Not during a Read.

LTFS also is improving. It also has built-in self healing by reading bytes after they're written and automatically re-writing them if need be.

The current version of PRP supports all 3 Discovery tape types and has been certified by them. Also, we've included Discovery Metadata Editor to create the required metadata XML files. There's also a Discovery Tape Verifier feature, so you can check your tapes against Discovery's rules before delivering--regardless of how you make the tape--.

I'm a little surprised by your recovery speed issue. One of the advantages of LTO-6 is improved retrieve speed. However, to get the best performance the data needs to be organized and called up in an efficient manner. Perhaps you were simply using Finder to dump files onto the tape and trying to bring them back in your initial tests?

Writing, searching and retrieving are the main reasons for using a software application or turnkey appliances when working with LTFS (or any proprietary format for that manner).

One of the things not mentioned by others in this thread is that PreRollPost is the only solution that also offers visual indices. Besides automatically extracting video metadata, it also generates thumbs for your content. You can also add proxy generation and instant playback of video content in native or proxy formats. If you choose to make proxies, these can be done ahead of the backup session or during it.

Good luck in your search and tests Sam. If you have any questions feel free to ask via our website. Dan

Offload with Confidence...


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 20, 2014 at 6:59:11 pm

Let me start by saying that I agree that PreRoll Post has brought a lot of goodness to the LTFS format for a far more reasonable price than other solutions. However, PRP is NOT the LTFS format. And, PRP's ability to write to tape is at the whim of the engineers writing the LTFS specification unless you spin off your own code tree that your team controls. But then, you're adding to the already existing 21 known LTFS implementations currently in the wild.

[Dan Montgomery] "Let me be clear, you can damage any tape by power off during a write session--Not during a Read.

Dan - that is not true. You can't damage the tape through a power loss event. With BRU's format (or tar or cpio for that matter), powering off the tape drive does not affect any of the data that has been written onto the tape up to the point of the failure. And even with the --deep-recovery option to LTFSCK, you still run into far more unrecoverable tapes than you should - this is a weakness related to the dual partition nature of the format.

[Dan Montgomery] "LTFS also is improving. It also has built-in self healing by reading bytes after they're written and automatically re-writing them if need be."

This statement is misleading and I'm not sure what LTFS code you're looking at, but LTFS' read after write verification is totally dependent on the tape drive's algorithms, not something special in LTFS. Any software that writes to a tape device has gotten this functionality for free as far back as the QIC drives of the 1980s - it's not an LTFS thing and has no relationship to LTFS. However, this functionality is highly affected by the GIGO effect - Garbage In, Garbage Out - in that the drive is only able to compare the data that it received in it's input buffers. We have a white paper that describes the way this works on our site: Reliable Tape-based Verification. To perform software controlled Read After Write verification as you imply would slow the format's write speed dramatically.

[Dan Montgomery] "There's also a Discovery Tape Verifier feature, so you can check your tapes against Discovery's rules before delivering--regardless of how you make the tape--."

The problems related in my discussion were not in the formatting of the data in the strict Discovery layout, but rather that inability of the tapes to be read at all. This is an LTFS theme that continues to crop up time and again - the LTFS tape that you created today, can't be mounted and read next week.

Additionally, we've (the tape industry members including Exabyte, Archive, HP, and a few no longer existing firms) demonstrated at public shows such as COMDEX, CeBIT, IBC and InterOp (plus many smaller regional shows) that modern tape media is much more resilient than nay-sayers promote. We froze tapes, soaked them in coffee, and even went so far as passing consumer-grade magnets over them and were still quite able to restore the data that existed on them after drying and warming the media to normal operating temperatures and humidity levels. So while I definitely agree that two copies at different locations is better than one copy in a desk drawer, the concern over getting an LTO tape wet and losing data is not a valid scenario. In fact, with LTO media, it takes physical destruction of the cartridge to really create a scenario where data cannot be retrieved from a tape.

Oh, and BRU PE has offered Doubler Mode (writing the same data to two tapes simultaneously) since 2006. We even sell Desktop, Rackmount, and library hardware packages that offer the Doubler Mode solution in a very easy to use, plug and play package.

One additional comment about your site - PreRoll Post is LTFS compatible, not LTFS certified or compliant. The compliance testing suite is still being defined and currently only applies to writers of the LTFS low-level driver tools. User-level applications are not currently being certified for compliance. The current list of compliant solutions is offered on the LTO.org site here (scroll to the bottom) - LTFS Compliant Solutions

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


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Dan Montgomery
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 20, 2014 at 8:38:19 pm

Thanks Tim for reminding me why I don't normally post in forums (and won't comment beyond this).

Your opinion (and livelihood) apparently depend upon a proprietary system somehow being more reliable than LTFS. Sorry, I don't buy it. There are many petabytes stored using this open standard and it's growing, not declining.

Heck, there's even an article in this month's TV Technology about OpenAXF using LTFS..."With LTFS, the industry has a data tape interchange standard that support file system access."..."Using LTFS is the key to having interchangeability between third-party data tape systems."..XenData

Yes, there have been many 'flavors' of LTFS but as you know that's to match the manufacturer's equipment. It's no different than seeing continually updated ATTO drivers so the SAS card will work with the latest OS version so you can mount YOUR tape drive.

And BTW I was just at Discovery and they made no mention of any problems mounting tapes. Ever.

So bottom line Sam: Don't be afraid of LTFS. It will be around long after we're all gone.

Offload with Confidence...


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 20, 2014 at 9:44:11 pm
Last Edited By Tim Jones on Jan 20, 2014 at 10:13:43 pm

To others - I apologize ahead of time for this, but I can't sit back while such a hit and run is posted. If you're not interested in the deep facts that are being discussed, it's probably best to ignore this posting.

[Dan Montgomery] "Thanks Tim for reminding me why I don't normally post in forums (and won't comment beyond this)."

So, because someone disagrees with you and points out invalid statements in your claims you shut down the discourse. Ignoring something is definitely one way to make it go away.

Nothing that I have presented is false or non-attributable. In fact, our LTFS Caveats document has stood the test of time for more than three years with a standing offer to update or even remove it if even one of the claims made can be truly refuted.

As for published articles, anyone with enough money can get an article published that promotes the topic of the vendor in question. We have been offered many so called "editorial opportunities" by pubs and sites if we were willing to purchase large ad blocks - it's just the way that things work. Of course, the Xendata folks would make such a statement because they, like you, depend on LTFS to access any type of tape device. If neither of you had LTFS, where would you be from a tape standpoint? Our BRU products support both BRU format AND LTFS and we provide tools that make it possible to read and write tar and cpio tapes on OS X as well as reading MTF/MTIO tapes from the Windows realm on OS X.

Next, you don't MOUNT our tape drive as tapes shouldn't be mounted - tape is not disk. The ATTO drivers are included in OS X and Windows out of the box. While it's a good idea to update to their latest versions, it's not required and the drivers from the HBA manufacturers don't change the format that is written to the tape itself. And, the LTFS layer STILL depends on those same ATTO (or other) device drivers for proper operation. Unlike updating an HBA driver, changing an LTFS driver can mean the difference between a drive working or not working. It can also mean the difference between an old LTFS tape being readable under the new drivers or not.

Additionally, BRU supports far more vendors' tape devices than LTFS. LTO-1 through LTO-6, DDS-1 through DAT320, AIT, SAIT, DLT, SDLT, T10000A through D, and even antiquated QIC and Pertec devices, Additionaly, we support cloud storage standards such as SFTP and WebDAV in addition to local disk and even optical media. And, the archival container format is the same across ALL of these device infrastructures, so you could backup to a disk and transfer the archive directly to a tape and BRU can restore the contents with no further work on your part. You can then readily copy the contents of an LTO-4 tape to an LTO-8 tape in 2020 and BRU would still be quite happy restoring the data from the new technology.

Finally. while you were at Discovery, did you ask specifically about LTFS failure rates? Not the Discovery specific format issues, but the failure rates of mounting volumes at all? I'm sure that they wouldn't simply volunteer such data without specific probing.

I'm sorry to be so verbal about all of this, but so many vendors have jumped on the LTFS bandwagon without truly understanding what's "behind the curtain" that I can't just sit by and let them all poo-poo BRU with our success rate and 29 years of proven reliability when they really don't have a true, device level understanding of how this all works. My team does know what's in LTFS and have even made code-level patch submissions to the project.

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


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 20, 2014 at 9:54:11 pm

Sam -

Sorry to have turned this into such a hornet's nest :).

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


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Sam Lee
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Jan 21, 2014 at 4:16:07 pm

Right away, the OSXFuse bundled w/ the HP StoreOpen installer is a RED FLAG. I'm looking decades from now to be able to restore those LTO-6 media and I doubt OSXFuse will exist in 2030. Well, at least 5 years from now I'll migrate to LTO-7 or 8. The LTO-6 drive and media will likely be sold to some one else. If LTO-8 can read LTO-6 media (which LTO format claims to have at least 2 generations of read compatibility), then I won't have to migrate the massive amount of LTO-6 to LTO-8 as much. Ultimately, I'll have no choice but to move to LTO-8. The massive 4K raw footage and countless other media sources are pushing the limits of LTO-6 now. It's taking way too much physical tape archive storage space. This technical disclosure helps a lot to have a deeper understanding of LTFS & the LTO-6 format in general. The LTFS drivers compatibility headache is not something I want to experience w/ archive within years from now.

>>Next, you don't MOUNT our tape drive as tapes shouldn't be mounted - tape is not disk. The ATTO drivers are included in OS X and Windows out of the box. While it's a good idea to update to their latest versions, it's not required and the drivers from the HBA manufacturers don't change the format that is written to the tape itself. And, the LTFS layer STILL depends on those same ATTO (or other) device drivers for proper operation. Unlike updating an HBA driver, changing an LTFS driver can mean the difference between a drive working or not working. It can also mean the difference between an old LTFS tape being readable under the new drivers or not.<<


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Raul Zeummes
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on May 11, 2014 at 8:20:19 pm

I'm writing for anyone who is going through this decision process now or in the future, because I haven't found as much information as I would have liked about it.

My situation is as follows : I'm looking to use an hp ultrium 6250 drive to make quality backups of video footage during filming, and also to make long-term backups of general company files in a manner that is not particularly time-sensitive.

My preference was for a pc-based workflow, and a very affordable solution. (this eliminates all the $6000+ solutions)
I first tried the xendata ltfs software, and the people over there were extremely nice, available, and helpful.
A first issue where the software would just crash explorer without giving an error was tracked down to the length of filenames. Once I fixed all the file names, I still had random crashes of explorer (ie would crash on a given data set the first time, but not on the same data set on a second try)
In any case, there is no possibility of tape spanning, so you need to manually select combinations of files and folders that are 2.07 TB, which is not fun.

I started looking at mac based solutions, and quickly narrowed things down to PreRoll Post (prp) and Bru PE.

PRP post is LTFS based, whereas Bru has their own proprietary system.

Above we have a conversation between Dan Montgomery, president of Imagine products, the makers of PRP, and Tim Jones, the president of the Tolis group, makers of Bru.

In my reading of it, Tim seems to have a much deeper mastery of all the detailed technical aspects, and you can tell he has learned a lot from being in this field for so long. He has answers for all of Dan's points. Some of Dan's statements seem to have been intended to gloss over or mislead on certain points.

Here are some advantages I see to using BRU :

It seems to have the highest reliability. Lots of people who need high reliability use it.
It's been around for quite a while.
Their president really knows his stuff.
A windows version is announced
Does tape spanning (so does PRP)

Disadvantages to using BRU :

I'd be keeping my files in a proprietary format. There's only this one company that's responsible for it, and who knows where they'll be in 30 years.
You can't backup to a tape and a disk in one operation. (which you can in PRP) If they did add this functionality I would assume the files would be in bru format on the disk, which seems undesirable.
The interface is much less straightforward, even confusing at times. Why does it say LTO5 everywhere when I'm using LTO6 ?
Many comments on the web about BRU being frustrating to use.

Here are some advantages I see to using PRP :

The interface is really excellent
You can very easily make a backup to a disk and to a tape in one operation as your media cards are coming out of the camera.
Does tape spanning (so does BRU)

Disadvantages to using PRP :
The company making it is younger
The ltfs format seems to be inherently less safe than the bru format, which is an essential point for backups.
Their president's points online seem to lack clarity, and possibly forthrightness

The question for me comes down to how unreliable is ltfs really going to turn out to be ?
The bru folks have a lot to say about that, but not all of it is pertinent to PRP.

- "open source means no support" : PRP is supported by imagine
- "corrupts the backup if the system hibernates" : I'll turn off hibernation
- "do not use ltfs as a live filesystem" : I'm not intending to, that would be silly
- "use finder/explorer replacements sparingly" : don't need to, I'll be going through the backup database
- "multiple simultaneous access not recommended" : don't need it
- "do not access the tape between writes if writing multiple segments" : don't intend to
- "additional write access will run more slowly than first write" : this is no problem for big data sets, but seems like it would be a drag during a shoot. I wonder how much more slowly, considering I'm not intending to unmount / remount.
- "updating files does not release space" : I won't be updating
- "do not use to playback music or video" : we get it, it's not meant to be used as a live filesystem
- "ltfs doesn't offer a verification mechanism" : but as far as I can tell, PRP has saved an MD5 of every single file. it compared the original hashes to what was written after the backup.
- "ltfs tapes can only be used with ltfs" : I'm going to be going all bru or all ltfs anyway

Outstanding questions in my mind :
- why is bru adding ltfs functionality if the format itself is so bad ? the fact that they are doing that gives me the impression that ltfs is here to stay, and that it can't be all that insecure if properly implemented.
- If the power cuts out during a backup (which I'm going to be doing all I can to avoid), I'm going to assume I've lost the data on the tape, and start the backup from scratch anyway.
- is there a way to lose data during a read-only operation on ltfs due to a power loss ? (this would be much more worrysome)
- when I came back to PRP after an overnight backup test (small, under 300gb), I had a mac system message that the software had crashed. But I also still had a window showing the details of the backup having been completed, and all the md5s having been completely verified. how often is it going to be crashing ?
- from what I can tell so far, in PRP you can search your backup database for a file, and get the result, but if the tape containing that file is offline, you can't get the file's path. (using the print function) because you can't put an offline file into the retrieval section
- how will PRP do on a backup test spanning multiple tapes ?
- how will BRU do on the backup tests which I've started today ?
- I still have to look into PRP to see if there's a way to compare a live file to a backup reference file in order to check if the live file has been corrupted for example
- apart from the power being cut during a backup, what are the other risks of using the PRP implementation of ltfs ?


If anybody has anything to add to the comparison process I've outlined above, I would be most grateful.
If not, I hope it can help somebody going through this process at some point


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on May 12, 2014 at 3:13:23 am
Last Edited By Tim Jones on May 12, 2014 at 3:29:34 am

[Raul Zeummes] "- why is bru adding ltfs functionality if the format itself is so bad ? the fact that they are doing that gives me the impression that ltfs is here to stay, and that it can't be all that insecure if properly implemented.

We added support for LTFS for 3 reasons -
1 - When we added support to BRU PE for LTFS, we were simplifying the arcane command line mechanisms required to format, mount, check, and rollback LTFS tapes on OS X. Remember, when we launched less than 3 months after LTFS was announced, command line operations were the only option on OS X.
2 - We have customers receiving tapes in this format and wanted to allow them to use the same search mechanism for their LTFS tapes as for their BRU tapes.
3 - We wanted to provide a mechanism that would create properly formatted tapes every time in the instance that one of our customers had to use LTFS.
- If the power cuts out during a backup (which I'm going to be doing all I can to avoid), I'm going to assume I've lost the data on the tape, and start the backup from scratch anyway.

Not required with BRU archives. Even if the power fails, the data that BRU has written to the tape is completely recoverable up to the point of failure. What if the failure also took out your disks? In that case, you couldn't re-run the backup.
- is there a way to lose data during a read-only operation on ltfs due to a power loss ? (this would be much more worrisome)

Yes - because the filesystem is mounted, it can become corrupted just like a disk even if you're only reading. There really isn't a way to mount an LTFS volume as read only.
- when I came back to PRP after an overnight backup test (small, under 300gb), I had a mac system message that the software had crashed. But I also still had a window showing the details of the backup having been completed, and all the md5s having been completely verified. how often is it going to be crashing ?

I won't be touching that one except to say that 300GB takes around 30minutes with BRU...
- from what I can tell so far, in PRP you can search your backup database for a file, and get the result, but if the tape containing that file is offline, you can't get the file's path. (using the print function) because you can't put an offline file into the retrieval section

BRU can locate files on your media (BRU and/or LTFS) and provide the full path information of the selected files. If you then select those files for restore, you wil be told which tapes are required for the restore process. Also, the tapes don't need to be online for a full search.
- how will PRP do on a backup test spanning multiple tapes ?

Doug? BRU will properly span tapes for a single backup or archival operation into the 16 Exabyte range.
- how will BRU do on the backup tests which I've started today ?

Hopefully I've answered that all above.
- I still have to look into PRP to see if there's a way to compare a live file to a backup reference file in order to check if the live file has been corrupted for example

Because BRU's proprietary format applies the 32bit CRC to the file data as it;s being read from the filesystem in 2K chunks, you will always be able to verify the tape's contents WRT the file as it was read from the filesystem. If you wish, BRU will also allow you to performa a file by file comparison of the files in the archive against the original files on your system.
- apart from the power being cut during a backup, what are the other risks of using the PRP implementation of ltfs ?"

I don't know that this is LTFS endemic or something the PRP has worked out, but you read the note about bad tapes when filling LTO-5 tapes in an LTO-6 drive (LINK), right? This is being fixed in the drive firmware for HP (done), Quantum (??), and Tandberg/Overland (??). I don't know about IBM's status. BRU does not suffer from this issue on any vendor's tape drive.

What happens when you move to the next version of OS X or Windows and the FuSE layer hasn't caught up? Since LTFS's connection with your desktop and those apps that don't natively write to tape is completely dependent on FuSE, and FuSE is a separate OSS project with no direct responsibility to the LTFS teams ... I'm not trying to simply scare you here, we saw this with both Windows 7 SP 2, and OS X Mavericks. The FuSE layer was late arriving and if you made the OS switch early, you had no LTFS access.

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


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Raul Zeummes
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on May 12, 2014 at 11:44:20 am

Hi Tim,

Thanks for taking the time to address my points in detail.
My first BRU backup test ran overnight with no errors.

My main question at this point is as follows :

Do you recommend using BRU during a shoot as part of the offload workflow ? If so, how ?

I'm looking for a simple, GUI, time-effective way to copy footage off the cards onto a hard drive and a tape, and have both copies verified, before we format the card and give it back to the camera operator for re-use.

Thanks


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on May 12, 2014 at 3:29:25 pm
Last Edited By Tim Jones on May 12, 2014 at 3:57:46 pm

As always - my pleasure.

Here's what a couple of road warriors are doing in your situation:

Mount the camera cards on the Mac (no need to copy them first)
Back the card contents up to LTO tape with BRU PE
Restore the backed up data from the LTO tape to the local disk using BRU PE's "Restore to Alternate Location" option
Lather, rinse, repeat...

Because BRU is checksumming the data from the cards onto the LTO tape, you are sure that you have a correct original copy. Because BRU then also verifies the checksums on the restore pass, you are sure that you have a correct copy written to the local disk.

After a few "reassurance runs", most users simply returned the cards to use as soon as the BRU backup to tape is completed since they know that the copy is 100%.

HTH,

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


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on May 12, 2014 at 4:45:06 pm

I did have some additional feedback about the points that you posted about disadvantages of using BRU:
[Raul Zeummes] "I'd be keeping my files in a proprietary format. There's only this one company that's responsible for it, and who knows where they'll be in 30 years.

Two things are in place to sort this as I've described in this blog post: Dealing with BRU's Proprietary Nature
You can't backup to a tape and a disk in one operation. (which you can in PRP) If they did add this functionality I would assume the files would be in bru format on the disk, which seems undesirable.

We did this because we don't see a win in duplicating the functionality that your operating system already provides. You want to simply copy files from your media to your disk? Drag and Drop. Works in Finder, Explorer, and the various media managers on Linux.

As mentioned in my answer to your scenario earlier, if you're more interested tin validating the copies, then BRU PE provides a proven mechanism for insuring that both the copy of the files written to your tape and the copy then written to your disk. In each operation, the files are checksummed via an inline process based on a 2K level of granularity. This is more consuming that a simple copy, but it does provide inline checksumming that requires no additional intervention on the users' part.

On the other hand, manually copying is only as good as the underlying copy tool and I'd rather trust the OS' tool than a 3rd party tool other wise.
The interface is much less straightforward, even confusing at times. Why does it say LTO5 everywhere when I'm using LTO6 ?

I'm curious about this statement. The only way that this would be happening is if you were running the 2.3 version of BRU PE that was released before LTO-6 was available. In the 3.x builds, we refer to the drive by it's reported type regardless of whether it's LTO-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
Many comments on the web about BRU being frustrating to use.

My suspicion is that if you read those comments to the end of the threads, you'll see that in almost each instance the issue was a problem with the drive or a misunderstanding of how tape access works.

I would be curious about your feelings on these notes after you've had a chance to read our "what if..." stance and you've had a chance to work with the latest version of the app.

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


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Goce Shamakoski
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Dec 11, 2014 at 5:44:33 pm

Tom, Half a year ago I purchased BRU Producers Edition with two HP LTO6 Drives. My experience with the program has been very frustrating. GUI is very buggy, tapes are getting stuck in verification process. Many times when I need to restore a tape the catalog is missing, the list goes on and on. Tape dubler doesn't work half the time!

When I have to archive projects worth millions of dollars I can't afford to not be absolutely sure the tape is written properly and the software work reliably! I even purchased an extended phone support and every time I call the techs tell me my problem is a known bug with the version.

I'm reading a lot of people are having similar experience, I have stopped using BRU for now now and my only other option is HP StoreOpen LTFS which I'm not excited about but it works!


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Tim Jones
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Dec 11, 2014 at 6:06:05 pm

Goce, which version of BRU PE are you using as this was fixed previously?

Also, your tapes are properly written (even with the version that had exhibited the stall on the second drive's verification pass). You can always manually run a verification pass on any BRU formatted tape at any time.

And comparing that to LTFS, how are you verifying them at all using StoreOpen?

As for the missing catalogs, are you referring to a catalog for a tape on which the verification pass stalled? That was associated with what was causing the stall. You can always regenerate a missing catalog by importing the tape.

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


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Goce Shamakoski
Re: Purchase decisions between BRU Producer Edition or Image Products PreRoll Post
on Dec 11, 2014 at 7:07:12 pm

I was using 3.1.6 till yesterday. Now I'm on 3.1.8 and the only problem I have so far is dubler mode doesn't work. Every time I try to make two tapes it get stuck and I have to Force Quit.

I realized I could insert the tape and use Tape Import to bring back the Catalog. It still makes me nervous especially when I have to search for files!

With StoreOpen I just hope the files were written properly since I can't verify them. One reason why I switched to BRU.

Another big issue I have is after I write a tape with BRU and I try to identify it it shows as NON-BRU unknown tape. I have found if I restart BRU and then try again the tape shows as normal.


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