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[SOLVED] Tape Backups Are Not Reliable - EVER

 
 
Jolly Student
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      Jun 18th, 04, 9:11 PM
Okay Folks:



Here is one for all of you who thought that people could not get any dumber.



Yes, I am cross posting here but the recommendations for such are only in
the case where the subject matter concerns a bunch of groups. I think this
qualifies as such.



I work for a mid-sized company (600 employees) whose "Technology Director"
has openly said that "Tape backups are not reliable". This director had a
"consultant" come in to back up his assertion, a consultant who asked to
check his email via his "AOL" account (indeed, his email address is
something like (E-Mail Removed)).



Enough jokes aside - its going to get serious and this group seems to be
spreading the rumor that "Tape Backups are Always Unreliable".



So we now we have a huge, Raid 5 server that has a pretty decent amount of
capacity and are using a company's software to that backups are quick and
slick. Cool, my life is so much easier. But thats it. . . we do NOT have
an offsite backup, we do NOT have another inhouse SDLT tape backup drive and
the entire compliment of our backup resides ONLY on this single Network
Attached Raid 5 server. Sure, its housed in a closet somewhere, but what if
we had a catastrophic failure, how about a huge fire, or a plane hitting us.



See, this "consultant" has "clients" in Manhattan who have their offices on
the 89th floor, but their Tapeless Backup servers in the basement. Errr, is
it me or do basements and the safes that may be contained therein get buried
under rubble, or are there some group of IT specialists out there who
specialize in nothing but digging out backup servers from the rubble.



As stupid as this question is, I need to basically find credible, reliable
sources of published information that basically say its really, really,
really dumb to not archive stuff onto some type of medium tape or otherwise.
This Raid 5 server that we have at our company is not a bottomless pit, but
the higher ups do not listen to me, only to the "director" who, along with
their "consultant" has them believing that the system we currently have in
place is relable.



Normally I would just shut my face since my life is a lot easier in terms of
backup, hell, set it and forget it is the name of the game. However, I know
full well that if we ever got hit with a major disaster the "director" would
be off on his vacation while the rest of us poor slobs had to restore data
from God knows where. Oh, and if we were to get hit by a brand new,
spanking virus because the "director's" kid came in and did so, well, our
Network Attached Storage pig would also suffer.



In short, I need some type of recommendation, in writing, in some type of
white paper, from some type of credible sources, that SDLT tape backup
drives, at least for the purpose of long term archiving are not "unreliable"
, they are only as "unreliable" as the poor work habits of the person who is
responsible for them.



Oh, and for the record, dear friends of mine swear by SDLT tape drives and
the like, but I cannot bring an IT manager from CitiCorp into this
discussion because, since he is a friend of mine, his opinion is not
"neutral".



Please help



Roger.


 
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Steve Stone
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      Jun 18th, 04, 9:59 PM
In article <a0IAc.10835$(E-Mail Removed) >, (E-Mail Removed) says...
> Okay Folks:
>
>
>
> Here is one for all of you who thought that people could not get any dumber.
>
>
>
> Yes, I am cross posting here but the recommendations for such are only in
> the case where the subject matter concerns a bunch of groups. I think this
> qualifies as such.
>
>
>
> I work for a mid-sized company (600 employees) whose "Technology Director"


Tapes do go bad and so do tape drives or the tape is recorded on a drive
with an alignment problem and results in failures trying to read the tape on a
different drive.

Hard drives crash and burn too.

You site two different problems:

A single backup stored only onsite
and
no tape backup

In my mind you have to follow the proper procedure to have reliable backups on any type
media.

Depending on a single onsite backup without a remote stashed away at an alternate location
is foolish or desperate (no money to do so).

Steve
 
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Jolly Student
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      Jun 18th, 04, 10:06 PM
Dear Steve:

I will not argue that tapes and drives go bad. Espcially if you dont test
them on a regular basis or if you throw them to your dog as a chew toy from
time to time. Thats not the point here.

The point here is that the director maintains that we do not need any other
type of backup device. I only suggested SDLT because of its portability. I
mean, I take an SDLT full backup once a week and stick it in a safe deposit
box is a lot better than just relying on one backup server in one location.
Thats the point.

Thanks,

Walt


 
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Jolly Student
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      Jun 18th, 04, 10:09 PM
PS. Money is NOT the object. Its a director who just wants to be right.


 
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Ivan Marsh
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      Jun 18th, 04, 11:02 PM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 21:06:52 +0000, Jolly Student wrote:

> Dear Steve:
>
> I will not argue that tapes and drives go bad. Espcially if you dont
> test them on a regular basis or if you throw them to your dog as a chew
> toy from time to time. Thats not the point here.
>
> The point here is that the director maintains that we do not need any
> other type of backup device. I only suggested SDLT because of its
> portability. I mean, I take an SDLT full backup once a week and stick
> it in a safe deposit box is a lot better than just relying on one backup
> server in one location. Thats the point.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Walt


Please allow me to preach to the choir: Always get tape!

RAID is very cool and helps quite a bit when you loose a drive.

RAID controllers do fail on occasion and in the most amusing ways.

I had an HP LF server that had a bug in the firmware. It lost a drive, I
replaced the drive, It happily went about stripping the blank drive over
the data on the remaining good drives.

If it weren't for a tape backup I would have had a LOT of empty disk
space.

--
i.m.
The USA Patriot Act is the most unpatriotic act in American history.

 
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Steve Stone
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      Jun 19th, 04, 12:05 AM
In article <MRIAc.11607$(E-Mail Removed) >, (E-Mail Removed) says...
> PS. Money is NOT the object. Its a director who just wants to be right.
>
>
>


Then it is time for you to prepare yourself to replace him when the backups are needed and
fail !

Steve
 
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David Bailey
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      Jun 19th, 04, 2:28 AM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 20:11:50 +0000, Jolly Student wrote:

> Okay Folks:
>
>
>
> Here is one for all of you who thought that people could not get any
> dumber.
>
>
> As stupid as this question is, I need to basically find credible,
> reliable sources of published information that basically say its really,
> really, really dumb to not archive stuff onto some type of medium tape
> or otherwise. This Raid 5 server that we have at our company is not a
> bottomless pit, but the higher ups do not listen to me, only to the
> "director" who, along with their "consultant" has them believing that
> the system we currently have in place is relable.
>
>
>
> Normally I would just shut my face since my life is a lot easier in
> terms of backup, hell, set it and forget it is the name of the game.
> However, I know full well that if we ever got hit with a major disaster
> the "director" would be off on his vacation while the rest of us poor
> slobs had to restore data from God knows where. Oh, and if we were to
> get hit by a brand new, spanking virus because the "director's" kid came
> in and did so, well, our Network Attached Storage pig would also suffer.
>
>
>
> In short, I need some type of recommendation, in writing, in some type
> of white paper, from some type of credible sources, that SDLT tape
> backup drives, at least for the purpose of long term archiving are not
> "unreliable" , they are only as "unreliable" as the poor work habits of
> the person who is responsible for them.
>
>
>
> Oh, and for the record, dear friends of mine swear by SDLT tape drives
> and the like, but I cannot bring an IT manager from CitiCorp into this
> discussion because, since he is a friend of mine, his opinion is not
> "neutral".
>
>


RAID is all well and good as a reliable first line of defence, but it
ISN'T a backup strategy. The ONLY things that RAID (5) does is improve
performance and give *some* resistance to disk failure (I have seen a RAID
5 system with 2 bad disks!). It still needs a backup strategy on top of
it.

If you don't have a secondary backup device / medium somewhere, what do
you do after say a virus gets into your system, or someone deletes a file?

An example is a company I have done some work for. They have about 2Tb in
a raid 50 array (two raid 5s mirrored). They had a hardware issue where
the first array got some corruption (I believe it was a firmware issue
with one of the controllers that caused the initial problem). This then
mirrored across to the other array. So now they have 2 sets of identical
*corrupt* files. They did have tape backup as well. It took a while, but
they did restore their data.

Tapes may not last forever, but what is the purpose of your backup
strategy? Do you want to restore files from 10 years ago? Do you want to
recover from something like a virus attack or deleted files over a
relatively short time frame? Tape may or may not be able to do the
former, but it can definitely do the latter. If tape can't do the former,
I don't really know what else could.

Tape also has the advantage that you can have offsite storage if you want.

If you are concerned about the reliability of your tapes, test them every
now and again. Anyone who is really serious about their backup strategies
tests their entire strategy, including a full restore on a regular basis.

If you really want documentation try this search:
tape backup reliability "white paper"
It gives *plenty* of hits.


 
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Gerard Bok
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      Jun 19th, 04, 12:53 PM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 20:11:50 GMT, "Jolly Student" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>I work for a mid-sized company (600 employees) whose "Technology Director"
>has openly said that "Tape backups are not reliable".
>Enough jokes aside - its going to get serious and this group seems to be
>spreading the rumor that "Tape Backups are Always Unreliable".


There's only one thing more stupid than backup on tape: no
backup. (As you have now.)

>As stupid as this question is, I need to basically find credible, reliable
>sources of published information that basically say its really, really,
>really dumb to not archive stuff onto some type of medium tape or otherwise.


Well, can't promise on either 'credible' or 'reliable', but heck,
I said it.

--
Kind regards,
Gerard Bok
 
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Bill Unruh
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      Jun 19th, 04, 3:35 PM
(E-Mail Removed) (Gerard Bok) writes:

]On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 20:11:50 GMT, "Jolly Student" <(E-Mail Removed)>
]wrote:

]>I work for a mid-sized company (600 employees) whose "Technology Director"
]>has openly said that "Tape backups are not reliable".
]>Enough jokes aside - its going to get serious and this group seems to be
]>spreading the rumor that "Tape Backups are Always Unreliable".

So? What conclusion does he draw from this?
Anyway, one option would be to buy an offsite large hardisk computer, and
once a day do an rsync from your office computers to the hard disks on this
offsite computer. that saves the stuff on hard disk, which also has its
problems.
Secondly, it depends on what the size of your backups are (600 people
sounds like a lot) but a DVD will hold 4GB. If you have to change 100 DVDs
a night, this is a hopeless solution, but if it all fits on one, this is a
possibility. Or use them for incrimental backups.

But do you need backups? YES.


]>As stupid as this question is, I need to basically find credible, reliable
]>sources of published information that basically say its really, really,
]>really dumb to not archive stuff onto some type of medium tape or otherwise.

Many businesses have gone under because they lost everything in a
fire/sabotage/earthquake/whatever.
Just imagine what your business would do if they lost everything on their
computers.

 
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Gerard Bok
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      Jun 19th, 04, 4:29 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 14:35:21 +0000 (UTC),
(E-Mail Removed) (Bill Unruh) wrote:

>(E-Mail Removed) (Gerard Bok) writes:
>
>]On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 20:11:50 GMT, "Jolly Student" <(E-Mail Removed)>
>]wrote:


No offence Bill, but if you cut all of my text while quoting,
would you please also delete the "Gerard Bok writes" part ?

--
Kind regards,
Gerard Bok
 
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