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Re: which LTO6 drive to buy?

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Rachael Busher
Re: which LTO6 drive to buy?
on Feb 13, 2018 at 4:14:15 am

Well i'm all ears, you can recommend specific other sellers especially if prices for packages are competitive, curious what the package difference is though - I prefer to pick my own SAS card (because i'm using it for other things), I assumed at least LTFS was free for DL because that's implied everywhere, cables are just... cables... so I order one with the drive, and tapes i'll be ordering by the boxload soon enough.


Publically working through this - since i'm a newbie hopefully someone can give me a headcheck if I have a misunderstanding anywhere. Keep in mind i'm both still in college and not working on enough volume that hundreds of dollars is irrelevant to me for a minor enough inconvenience, I just have to migrate a few dozen TB of data to start, not petabytes.


If I can mention specific places I just have somewhere called BackupWorks bookmarked for now and I see half height internal dedicated LTO6 drives for like $1650 by Quantum for the TC-L62AN-BR-C and $1740 by IBM TS2260 which says it has dual SAS ports plus Ethernet. (does this mean it can be read/written through Ethernet instead of SAS else what would it be for, or connected to two separate computers with their own SAS cards? Or does the SAS just let you chain to something else after? I mean I sort of understand how SAS works, I just dont know how this specific DRIVE works/what is implied by them mentioning dual "SAS ports" because I don't see why it should need it.) HP is like $500 more and I see no critical difference in features. Other models for LTO6 are notably more expensive but I see no real feature differences.

I'm pretty set on LTO6 for now - throwing the numbers into a spreadsheet it's not worth another $500-700 for an LTO7 drive vs the ROI because by the time media might be cheaper for it, i'd have to upgrade my NAS drives to feed it. I'd rather jump two gens to LTO8 (and use LTO7 media formatted m8) when it's time upgrading NAS and tape drive all at once, probably once LTO9 is out and prices drop in a few years. $500-700 can get me a GPU or SSD upgrade or second dSLR for two camera shoots, it's not throwaway money.


Anyway i'm shopping for price alone and these are the two least expensive right now and it beats amazon and I dont trust saving $100 on ebay from an unknown supplier. I'm not willing to trust barely less expensive on something refurbished or an unknown supplier but willing to look at other suppliers - just didn't see many others in my searching. Ebay prices on the IBM are notably more for some reason, is it in any way a better drive and worth the $90 extra from BUW? I assume they will all write from single drives "as low as 55MB/sec" without shoeshining, which is lower than any drive I want to back up from. Two of the drives list a 512MB cache, so that's about 9 seconds of buffering of small files.


Externals of either are about $300 more and i'm not willing to pay that right much more, I originally assume this just fit in a half height 5.25 bay and used some standardized power connection but looking at dimensions on BUW i'm not sure - a different site lists the same Quantum drive with what I assume are normal 5.25 ATX case dimensions though.


One quirk I see is Macintosh not listed as a supported platform on either drive from BUW which I assumed should just be about a compatible SAS controller and some Mac version of LTFS. I would prefer having that ideally, but the only listing for sure is in an HP drive some $500 more and that's more than i'm willing to pay for Mac compatibility right now because I don't see any other reasons to buy the more expensive drive. (because if it's plugged into a Mac or multiOS I can just directly write a tape from the system drive instead of imaging over the network) At a different website the same Quantum drive at least implies Mac compatibility.


I don't have to buy overnight but my NAS is filling up at a rate that by the end of March I either add another drive or migrate old-old data off to some tapes so that's my expected buying window.


I primarily use Windows and my NAS is simple Windows so i'm just planning on using LTFS for now. (in the future I plan to get more into Linux and Mac OSX and hope to use the same drive there, probably all from the same hardware computer - the handful of times I may move the drive physically to another machine or server will be counted on one hand so I don't think i'll spring for an external)


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