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Re: LTO6 Budget Solutions

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bryson jones
Re: LTO6 Budget Solutions
on Mar 7, 2013 at 5:39:03 pm

The following is an opinion and offers some things to consider beyond price. If you're choosing on price, then it's easy. Find the cheapest one and deal with it. There is really little to consider if that's your limitation. However, if you are looking to match the solution to your workflow and production, here are some thoughts.

Take with a shaker full of salt grains.

Evaluate a few. Dealers can demo them all for you and also discuss the real-world transfer times which vary WIDELY depending on your environment.

I've installed all of the systems you listed and all work well. The difference is all in their convenience, automation capabilities and speed, which depends a lot on your SAN, storage or network.

Consider the real-world use case. Will you actually pull a single asset back or will you most likely restore a group of assets? I'm about to make everyone mad here but in a lot of operations I've seen people tend to restore groups or folders or archives in bulk and so knowing "what tape is that on?" often trumps the actual file by file granularity.

(WARNING: Again this is based only on my companies experience and my opinion (!!)others may see more granularity in their deployed systems!!)

Pro Tip: Be careful that you don't spend thousands of dollars implementing a solution that you cannot adequately staff and support.

I personally like all of the solutions presented here. But they are vastly different and depending on your particular workflow, they may all fail or succeed in a specific environment.

Case in point, I did a consult on a project with a large SAN that was planning to use an unnamed system to do a "backup" of the whole system. I stopped the project when I noted on a conference call that the operation would take 6 months of 7 day weeks to complete on their current infrastructure. (No fault of the archive system.) They had to reconsider the whole plan after that.

For example, let's say a SAS connected system will pull 600MB per second theoretically. If you have a NAS that's only connected via gigabit ethernet, none of these systems will get full pipe speed (SAS) since the network's your bottleneck. You can use most anything and they will perform similarly. Choose by convenience price or another factor. BRU will be similar in speed to a Pro Cache or SNDA since they will all be using that gigabit pipe to see the storage. This is not literally true but you won't see anything like SAS speeds.

However, if you have a fibre SAN that can transfer 300MB per sec to an archive machine, you might want to ensure your archiving system can connect at that same speed either by direct connection or an upgraded network connection (10Gb PowerCache in the case of Cache-A for instance, or BRU and SDNA's SAS connection) if you need absolute raw speed in your rig. Most don't actually, but you may.

The box you think you might buy may or may not be suited to your environment, even within a single product line, so evaluate a few options with all variables considered. All of these solutions vary from a single drive to multiple drives and loaders.

If you have under 10TB, don't sweat it, buy anything (Not literally of course,.) But if you have a significant amount of data and need to secure that quickly, evaluate carefully and speak to your reseller and users in the real-world who will have accurate transfer times based on specific storage systems and network topologies.

Also, never forget that adding a MAM to your archive saves time on the restores, but adds greatly to time on the archive due to cataloging, proxy creation and tagging operations. I've seen people take months to archive data waiting on a slow proxy creation system to complete the proxy files. Plan accordingly.


bryson "at"

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