I'm looking into tape archiving for a small post department and was wondering about the viability of renting a LTO-5 drive instead of purchasing.
The post department has only just been set up and so there is very little to be archived at this stage, we are starting from scratch. My idea for the workflow would be that every 2 months or so we archive all of the projects signed off in that time, and in between archives have projects that are still being worked on backed up on standard HDs.
Seeing as we would only need the tape drive for a day or two per month (and in the case of needing to retrieve data from tapes) isn't renting the natural way to go? Assuming that if we lose data from a HD we don't mind waiting a day or two to retrieve it from tape. Or am I missing something crucial here?
I'm not aware of any vendors renting drives, but I'm also not sure renting is very practical. For one thing, LTO-5 drives need to connect via SAS, so that is a card that you'd also need to have or rent (and I wouldn't recommend renting an internal card, it might be practical for ExpressCard on a laptop, if you have a slot). Another issue is the software you will use to work with the drive. There are a number of options like BRU PE, Retrospect, and LTFS, and I'm not sure how tolerant they would be to seeing a different drive each time. It might require some annoying repetition of setup procedures.
Stand-alone LTO-5 drives sell for $2K-$4K, so while they aren't cheap like an external HDD, they aren't prohibitively expensive either. Renting one over the course of a year would probably pay for the drive anyway.
Don't know about LTO rentals but your best bet is a Cacha-A its self contained, has GigE, and built in archive software. A rental unit might make for confusing databases though. You would see all the tapes recorded on the unit.