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Change your backup tapes

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Sparky, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Yes, we all change our backup tapes on a daily basis (I hope!) but how often do you throw the tapes in the bin and start over?

    One of the DLT drives on a server at work started to play up the other day, the media light was constantly flashing and the drive would always eject the tape. After all the usual troubleshooting (drivers, check cabling etc.) I phoned Dell as the server is still under warranty.

    I explained to the Dell tech what I had done to troubleshoot the problem and he agreed that it sounded like a fault with the tape drive.

    He then asked how old the tapes were, I said they were approximately 8 months old and he then suggested that I buy brand new tapes *every six months* :eek: and bin the other tapes.

    Does anyone else do this? The tapes are fine in this case as I have done a test restore from each tape and everything seems to be ok.
     
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  2. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    No, we use tapes that are a year old and still function fine. That sounds weird that every 6 months change new tapes, I figured every 12 months, but I am not sure.
     
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  3. simongrahamuk
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    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    12 Months was the norm for me.
     
  4. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Classic Dell "get-out" clause there me thinks! I've lost count on the amount of times that I've told them not to insult my intelligence with their bullshit!
     
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  5. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    It's very dependant on brand quality just like old VHS and more recently DVDs
    cheap ones work, but don't work as well over longer periods of time, better ones do

    we had a 90 and 180 day policy on tapes that were used on our daily and weekly rotations
    our off site weekly and monthly tapes stayed the same for years, ofcourse they were not part of a daily rotation scheme either

    At the end of the day tape backups are drying up, they are less and less desirable for company's due to the cost of maintaining and managing the complex backup systems required by modern enterprises
    disk to disk to tape is replacing common tape only and the more cutting edge are forgoing tape all together.

    If the tapes playing up, buy a new one, or put a new one into the rotation, the worry is when you need to restore and it plays up, hence why a standard lifecycle is a good policy, that's not to say there still wont be a tape that fails before that lifecycle is up though.
     
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  6. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Just to take it one step further, when was the last time those tapes were tried in a different tape drive. If the building goes up in smoke and you need to use them in a brand new drive are you sure they are going to work?

    We use a disk - disk - tape backup (and no I haven't tried them in another drive :oops:)
     
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  7. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Also depends on how often they're used. In one server, we ALWAYS used the same Monday tape, the same Tuesday tape, etc...that would get used 52 times a year... and we had a Friday 1, Friday 2, Friday 3 weekly tape that would get used 12 times a year... and we had quarterly tapes that would get used once a year. Because the daily tapes would get used more often, they'd wear out faster.

    Most of our servers were backed up by a tape library that chose tapes at random, so they'd get used a varying number of times based on how often we put them into and took them out of rotation.
     
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  8. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    I run a test restore every month on the servers; I pick a couple of tapes and restore the files to a different location.

    I haven’t tested the tapes in another drive to be honest, however when the tape drive was swapped for a new one the tapes worked fine. I just had to delete the original tape drive in Backup Exec and it was business as usual after that.

    I do have some servers backing up to off-site locations and also have a CDP unit which backs up in real time. Must admit I still like using tapes on DCs and Exchange so in the event of a server failure I can restore the system state etc. to a new server and get the domain back up and running. I haven’t tested any other type of disaster recovery as yet! :biggrin
     
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