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Greg Ondera
DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 2:25:13 am

I am considering getting a DLT or LTO tape system for archiving my Sony XDCam EX footage, and of course, my FCP masters. I'd like an external system. Are there any inexpensive DLT drives out there and how do all of you editors feel about DLT or LTO as an archiving method? What's the difference? Is there anything special to look for? I noticed ProMax has a small LTO for 1K. What are the considerations for DLT and LTO? Any other archiving ideas? I use a Mac 2 x 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 3:46:04 am

How much footage do you need to back up, and for how long?

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

Current DVD:
http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX - Cinema Displays I have a 22" that I paid 4k for still working. G4 with Kona SD card, and SCSI card.


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Greg Ondera
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 5:40:16 pm

I have 24 G-tech drives fat with footage on them presently. I keep buying drives and will soon get a drive array tower as well. My thinking says that as long as I have a footage backup, using mirrored drives is not really necessary. If a drive crashes, all you need is the FCP file and the footage. What do you think?

LTO sounds good and it is also less expensive it seems. Do you know what the shelf life of an LTO tape is?

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 5:45:42 pm

Drives die more often than LTO tapes go bad I'd think. In the long run, it's less expensive to back up on LTO tapes (the manufacturers say they'll live 50 years I think). They are likely the best solution at the moment, but I'm afraid nothing is fool proof.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

Current DVD:
http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX - Cinema Displays I have a 22" that I paid 4k for still working. G4 with Kona SD card, and SCSI card.


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Greg Ondera
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 6:14:12 pm

Thanks, Jerry. That's my thinking as well. 50 years of archiving may have my great grandchildren scratching their heads as to why the tapes don't work after that expanse of time, but for me, I like that and those tapes will live long after I am gone.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Michael Sacci
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 7:31:44 am

DLT is slow and expensive per GB, get a LTO drive. LTO 4 is very usable for backing up camera raw footage.


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Greg Ondera
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 6:03:56 pm

So you have me looking at Quantum's removable LTO-4 HH for $1,600 on Google products. I notice the tapes are about $23.65 for a 400/800 gig tape, which is an excellent price, but what is the "400/800" half-gig amount number all about? Does it produce a better recording if it records in 400 gig mode or what does that number split represent?

And what is the difference between LTO-3 and LTO-4? Or LTO-5 for that matter? Thanks!

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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John Christie
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 9:43:51 pm

I've been doing the same research recently. Have a look at the Cache-A, an LTO device attached to a small linux box with a couple of internal drives. It's the only stand alone solution that requires no other software to run.

It can read cards directly which makes it easy to copy them first to the Cache A and then to your FCP systems.

It's not as fast as a NAS or Fibre attached drive, which can be a factor when restoring across a network at Gigabit speeds only.

Beyond that, if you get a stand alone LTO drive you need to consider which backup software to use and that gets tricky. There's Retrospect, cheap but not very expandable or net savvy. Or you can go with Atempo at the high end - over $25K for the software alone, but it integrates through Final Cut Server for very robust backups. You can even backup an entire project directly through Final Cut.

LTO 5 is the way to go, 1.5 TB per tape. The 2 sizes quoted are for compressed and uncompressed. But as video is already compressed, just look at the smaller number.

Cheers

John Christie


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 1, 2011 at 9:47:15 pm

I've seen this unit! It's really the cat's meow for archive at an affordable price.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

Current DVD:
http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX - Cinema Displays I have a 22" that I paid 4k for still working. G4 with Kona SD card, and SCSI card.


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Greg Ondera
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 1:54:10 am

Thanks for all of this info. Cache-A is selling for about $9,500.00 and it looks versatile for an editing house that runs a lot of projects through and client deadlines might be an issue. However I only need a simple backup in case my drives go down.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 5:28:44 am

We have a ProCache and have had great success. It has really become the central backbone of all of our data.

We started with the Prime Cache and moved to the ProCache. Cost of entry is a bit high, but it's worth it. One nice part of the LTO spec is that redundancy is built right in to it. Every LTO drive has to be able to read two versions before it. So LTO4 can read LTO2.

The real ironic thing about it is we are now going back to tape! But we can now put absolutely everything on tape, including project files and all related files.

You're going to want at least lto4 if not lto5. Lto5 will have more capacity and will generally be more fast in archives and restores. We find our LTO4 runs at about fw800 speed or a little faster.

Hth,

Jeremy


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Michael Sacci
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 5:49:32 am

400/800GB is uncompressed/compressed on the tapes. I would use use uncompressed but that is what I have always done so others may weight in on it.

While the expensive systems are worth the money especially for busy studios you can get by just fine with just the drive which is a fraction of the cost. You have to maintain records and do more stuff by hand but for a small shop saving several grand is really important.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 6:07:23 am

I hear you Michael. We are small and purchases are made extremely carefully.

What I like about Cache-A is that no other software needed. Everything runs from a web browser. You plug in the Cache-A, hook to your network, choose how to send the data to the unit and off you go. Also, the cacheA keeps a searchable database of every tape that's been made in the machine, so it can double as a simple catalog as well which can be accessed on the network from any computer. It's quite handy. Also, Cache-A has been adding more and more features as it matures.

Once some fo our sata drives starting failing, it was time to step up to a more permanent solution.


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Michael Heldman
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 6:36:00 am

Jeremy: I'm about to purchase one of these units and I have a couple really rudimentary questions about workflow with the Cache-A.

I would like to archive raw camera dailies as they come to us each day, say from a RED shoot, after they've been loaded for the editing app.

Would I simply attach the dailies drive to the Cache-A (or go through the network) and tell it "copy these files to tape now", or would I copy the files to the internal HD of device and have it write to tape once I've got all the dailies for a given job or have enough gathered to fill one LTO tape?

And if I copy to tape directly, can I then add the next day's work to the tape to the same tape, until the tape is full? In other words, do I have to dump to a tape all at once, or can I keep adding files over time as the software keeping track of what's added to the tape?

Any practical workflow advice from your experience would be really helpful. I'm brand new to LTO tech, as I guess you can tell.

Thanks

Michael Heldman



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Michael Heldman
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 6:59:45 am

Never-mind! I just found a fantastic review of the product that answered all my questions:

http://www.suitetake.com/2009/09/24/review-cache-a-lto-4-a-series/

But Jeremy, if you have anything to add from your own experience, I'd love to hear.

Michael



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John Kaley
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 4:27:31 pm

I've been researching backup systems for about a year now with the proliferation of disk-based footage. The Cache-A seems to be the best, but at a price-point that was too high.

I also was archiving all footage, projects, etc on single SATA drives, but it's just too risky without redundancy. Here's my interim solution until either the Cache-A becomes for cost-justifiable or another technology emerges.

I bought a Lacie 10TB ethernet-based Raid-5 unit for about $1200. I can reliably store/backup quite a bit of data, and if a drive goes down, I simple drop a new one in. If i need another 10TB, I get another ethernet cable, another unit, and simple plug it in.

Since it's on the network, all computers can see it. It also has a web-based interfaced if you decide to use it that way. Again, this is an interim solution for me until the back-up market matures.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 5:26:28 pm

I hear you, John and that sounds like a decent interim.

I thought about something like that, but I also wanted offsite redundancy. With the LTO tapes, we can keep an entire copy of our archive offsite. I make a second tape right away.

Also, when we started looking around for a solution we had about 30-35 TBs to archive. Then double that for the offsite copy. 10TBs would have been a blip on the radar! ;)

Fwiw, LTO is very mature. It is the vey reason that a lot of industries entrust their data to this technology. Banking, IT, etc.

Jeremy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 2, 2011 at 4:42:57 pm

One of the reasons we stepped up to the ProCache was that you could connect SATA drivers right to the device. Prime cache is USB only.

This is good for drives coming out of the field. Just plug them in and go.

We also have another computer on our network (iMac) with a small raid5 attached to it. This one we use as kind of the holding pattern for archives from our edit machines. Once a project is ready for archive off of the main machines we use CCC and clone only the data we want to the iMac. At that point you can either mount the iMac storage as a share to the ProCache or drag the data over to the ProCache drive. Its highly flexible to fit whatever works best for you.

True shared storage would be even faster.


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Lin Brummett
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Jan 3, 2011 at 9:13:32 pm

Since the inception of our company over two years ago we have been constantly searching for the right cost effective method to archive all of our P-2 and before/beyond media. Last April we finally settled on a package that consists of a Quantum Scalar i40 LTO4 tape library and Retrospect 8.0 Single Server backup software running on one of our Mac Pro edit stations. We just established an ingest/backup station that we plan on moving the unit on to.

Not including the Mac Pro, total cost including cables and ATTO Express SAS H380 card came in just under $8k. We had some fits and starts getting the system up and going but once we resigned ourselves to the fact that Retrospect support is poor at best and started figuring things out for ourselves the operation has worked very smoothly. I don't mean to say that the people at Retrospect don't want to be helpful, it's just that the product changed ownership several times right after we purchased it and no one on the support side seemed to know much about the product. Sadly, Retrospect seems to be the only product that would run on a Mac and was supported by Quantum. Anyway, once we figured out the pitfalls of the process, the system has been rolling along quite well since May.

The beauty of the system is that it is capable of holding 25 LTO tapes at a time. Once you have established your media set (a quantity of LTO tapes needed to store all your material in a backup session) you can connect multiple hard drives and set the system in motion to work unsupervised over the weekend without anyone having to drop by to change tapes. Once you get the procedural workflow down it is easy to operate.

The system is networkable and seems to have most of the benefits of the CacheA in some form. We have found it most beneficial to our workflow to keep the unit connected locally. It is somewhat noisy when in operation as was described about the CacheA. The physical size is big, it is 32" deep and 19" wide.
Right now we have it sitting on a file cabinet next to the desk.

Not ever having had anything to do with backup storage before this, the process overall has been fairly painless and something I am happy to recommend to others.

There are many other details I can share if anyone is interested.

Happy New Year!

Lin Brummett,
Warm Springs Productions


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Greg Ondera
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Apr 20, 2011 at 7:16:04 am

Well, I bought a Quantum LTO-4 (Model B) Half-Height Drive TC-L42BX, a SCSI drive and an ATTO Express PCI UL5D for my Mac, and this process is a bear, a living grizzly bear and it is not finished yet. I have been on the phone and writing everyone and simply cannot get it to work. I'm trying Retrospect 8 and I can see the drive in Storage Devices, it shows up in System Profiler, but no ability to work with it. I have been at this for over two months and wonder if I did the right thing. Next I will try to trade out terminators, as the one I got from Electronics Plus may not be as specific for the ATTO card or the Quantum drive. I regret going the SCSI route. I regret not getting a system from someone like ProMax. I don't have the coin to get a Cache-A or similar device and only want to back up my XDCam footage in case drives go out. I figure something like this is likely better than mirrored drives, as I can always fetch the footage if something goes wrong with a drive. Well it has been frustrating and I am not finished with the frustration yet.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Apr 20, 2011 at 1:21:38 pm

Crap, Greg. I'm really sorry to hear that.

I hope you can get it sorted out soon.

Jeremy


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Tom Step
Re: DLT Tape Archiving for Sony XDCam EX Footage
on Sep 29, 2011 at 4:29:29 pm

Greg did you ever figure out your setup...?

Tom

^__^ A color grade for every project.


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