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Software compatible with LTFS for restores

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Mae Robbins
Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:03:02 pm

My company is thinking about using LTFS to back up our data. We are a post production company and majority of our archives can be as large as 2 - 3 TB. We currently use BRU PE to back up our data with LTO-5 tapes. We have been having issues with the compatibility of LTFS and BRU PE. Does anyway recommend another type of software for LTFS? We are concerned with how the archives created with LTFS will restore properly if needing to pull data. I understand that LTFS allows you to write and read data without needing software but what if you need to pull particular files for a client? What backup/restore software would be most compatible with LTFS (on a MAC)?


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Mar 14, 2013 at 9:57:19 am

No quite sure what you mean. LTFS behaves just like mounting an external hard drive. Ie. if you need to pull just an individual file for a client you mount your tape, you pick the file you want and copy it to your local drive using the Finder or Windows Explorer. Simple.

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Mae Robbins
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Mar 14, 2013 at 6:05:39 pm

Well the main issue is that we are not able to restore files in large quantities when using LTFS and BRU PE.

So I guess my real question is, is it possible to generate a queue of files to restore sequentially?


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Doug Hynes
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Mar 15, 2013 at 2:34:24 pm

Hello Mae - there are other alternative solutions to help you with LTFS workflows. At the desktop level, LTFS is not very friendly - yes, you can access your files using Explorer or Finder - but the "free" drivers provided by HP/Quantum/IBM do not alleviate the clunkiness of using LTFS at the desktop level. Please check out StorageDNA's solutions - or feel free to contact me directly for more information. We have a great product that will meet your needs for nearline and archive using LTO/LTFS.

Regards,

Doug Hynes

Senior Workflow Specialist
StorageDNA


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Tom Goldberg
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Mar 15, 2013 at 3:52:13 pm

Hi Mae,

I'd like to elaborate on the issue and explain what is going on. Almost every LTFS solution is based upon the open source software originally from IBM. We refer to these solutions as a "baseline LTFS deployment." Such installs allow you to make LTFS tapes pretty well and restore individual files easily, but as you discovered, they do not presort restore lists for order on tape. Thus restores of large numbers of files if not requested in exactly the right order, can cause tape drives to thrash for hours or even days to find all the files. You should also be aware that unless you know which folder to look in, it is very difficult to search for files in any large file tree as tapes do not access like hard disk and are not indexed for searching.

A number of 3rd party manufacturers, Bru included, provide LTFS solutions with their products to permit interchange, but have done little to improve on that baseline functionality. Other 3rd party manufacturers including Cache-A and SDNA know were files are on tape and do pre-build restore lists for efficient recovery of any list of files. Our solution goes further to include metadata and checksums in a searchable table of contents that makes LTFS both practical and extends the functionality. If you would like to learn more about both LTFS and how 3rd parties have enhanced it, I recommend our LTFS white paper available here.

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




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Mae Robbins
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Mar 15, 2013 at 4:32:27 pm

Thank you for your responses. I will pass on the message to the other LTO Technicians.


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Charo Sanchez
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:02:18 pm

Hi Mae,

As Doug and Tom mentioned, basic LTFS solutions have several limitations. If you want to check out another improved LTFS implementation, feel free to contact me. Our archive solutions when using LTFS are optimized for use in a networked environment and offer a number of advantages like spanning of folder structures across multiple LTO tapes or restore of files in tape order.

Charo Sanchez
Sales Engineer
XenData
csanchez@xendata.com
http://www.xendata.com


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Tim Jones
Re: Software compatible with LTFS for restores
on May 7, 2013 at 9:20:09 pm

[Tom Goldberg] "A number of 3rd party manufacturers, Bru included, provide LTFS solutions with their products to permit interchange, but have done little to improve on that baseline functionality. Other 3rd party manufacturers including Cache-A and SDNA know were files are on tape and do pre-build restore lists for efficient recovery of any list of files. Our solution goes further to include metadata and checksums in a searchable table of contents that makes LTFS both practical and extends the functionality."

Hmmm, I totally missed this and once again, FUD and unsupported claims are the de rigueure for these LTFS threads.

Okay, again BRU is a product name, TOLIS Group is the manufacturer.

BRU PE provides a graphical UI for managing LTFS volumes (even though we have little faith in them) that simplifies formatting, filesystem checking, mounting, generational roll-back, and repair. As Tom mentioned, this in itself doesn't really bring anything new to the table for LTFS, but he's incorrect in stating that we "provide little to improve on that baseline functionality." We do take it a step further in that we allow you to catalog your LTFS volumes so that they are always fully searchable - whether they are online, in the next room, or in the vault at Iron Mountain - within BRU PE's Restore panel by volume, folder, file, date, or even a wildcard. And, since the process is the same for searching LTFS catalogs as searching native BRU tape catalogs, you only have to learn the workflow once. As to knowing where the files are on the tape, the LTFS layer already knows that because of the XML indexes on the Index partition of the tapes. No third party wrappers are required to gain that functionality.

Additionally, when you start modifying the baseline functionality, aren't you, in turn, modifying LTFS such that it's no longer simply LTFS? While other solutions may add all of these perceived bells and whistles, they are of no value if you're not using that product in all instances. LTFS' claim to fame was that it was self contained, self documenting and required no third party solutions to use. That claim falls flat when you start adding third party wrappers to make it do the things that it should do "out of the box."

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


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