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Re: LTO Archive vs Near line storage

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Jerzy Zbyslaw
Re: LTO Archive vs Near line storage
on Nov 16, 2018 at 11:33:08 am

[Eric Strand] ""I cannot help to acknowledge that as the price of inexpensive NAS products from Synology, QNAP, and Netgear continue to drop in price, the reality that NEAR LINE STORAGE (secondary shared storage with cheaper products) is becoming a viable alternative to LTO tape backup.""

Yes, for the amount of data they store they are perfectly viable, the answer may swing back towards LTO drives, auto loaders and tape libraries if suddenly you need to shoot in 8K and find you may need five to ten times as much storage as before. Realistically though, people will most likely have a mix of both in having a NAS for stuff they are working on and tape for stuff that's current but inactive at the moment.

[Bob Zelin] "So what do you do with all of your LTO 4 and LTO 5 (and now LTO 6) tapes. You create the LTO 6 archive. You keep it in a storage vault. Your place burns down, and today you can only get LTO 8 drives, which will not read an LTO 4, or LTO 5 or LTO 6. So someone will come back and say "well, that is ridiculous, you can still find LTO 5 and LTO 6 drives out there" - well what about 10 years from now - or even 5 years from now. Can you find an LTO 4 except on eBay ?"

Dell still sell two different models of brand new LTO4 drives so that covers you down to LTO2 tapes , all higher versions (LTO5+) are also available everywhere else so I don't see this issue as being a problem at the moment although it may change in the future as you suggest, but I'm guessing that people will still be building old versions of LTO drives well into the future because if they are still going to be priced at four grand apiece the reply to any query is probably going to be "how many of them do you want to buy?", I don't know who would still be sitting on LTO1 tapes today as they are only 100GB so I presume a used LTO2 or LTO3 off Ebay would suffice to get the data off those onto something a bit more modern, LTO2 was introduced in 2003 so people have had plenty of time to migrate LTO1 data which was introduced in 2000.

[Bob Zelin] "This is why near line storage is appealing. You keep your near line system with it's 5 year warrantee drives for 5 - 6 years, and in 5 - 6 years, you buy a NEW SYSTEM (this time with 20 TB drives - because 14 TB drives are out right now for $499 a piece, and in 5 years, I assure you 20 TB drives will be available) - and you migrate your data to the new larger Near line system."

In theory yes, but the cost of the hard drives on a $ per TB basis since they consolidated to only two main manufacturers is not declining that rapidly, if say a 6TB drive cost $300 and they introduced 8TB and 10TB hard drives they would come in at $400 and $500 respectively, gone are the days when people went crazy buying 1 TB drives and I more wisely would buy two 750GB ones for the exact same price. Hard drive prices have to decline by 50% every 2.0-2.5 years to keep pace with LTO storage density roughly doubling each new generation for pretty much the same price. You can have an 8 bay NAS with 14TB drives or even 20TB drives you mentioned but then if say you need to back up this data a second NAS is going to be expensive whereas I've seen a bare LTO8 drive for sale at just under USD $3K and LTO7 type M8 tapes are just under AUD $100 (USD $72.50) and they store 9 TB uncompressed. And then as I mentioned previously if storage requirements blow out for 4K or 8K then this question becomes even more acute if you read the reduser forums at on this topic or even on the Reddit Datahoarder forums where LTO technology is starting to be discussed more and more where people have a need to backup their stuff in the 50TB - 100TB+ range.

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