Have you used SATA or USB Tape Backups successfully?

By jdclyde ·
Hi Everyone,

Have need for a tape backup, the server does not have a SCSI controller and do not have the budget to add one.

I need a low cost backup solution, that includes looking at both the price of the drive as well as the price of the media for it. We currently have SCSI DAT72 on another system that is about to be phased out, so leaning hard to stay with DAT72 just so we don't have to invest in new tapes for a bit.

I have seen several tape backups listed online in the 500 to 700 range, some by HP looked good to me.

My question is, has anyone had any personal success or failure using either SATA or USB drives?

Both fit my budget (which is almost nothing). Not a lot being backed up and done at night, so I don't care about the speed of the backup. Just want one that will be dependable.

The server is a low end HP running Windows Server8.

Thanks in advance for your input.

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I read that

by jdclyde In reply to Col seems to know a thing ...

but not relevant to what I am doing. That was about media that would be stored for long periods. I would just have a weeks worth of tapes being swapped out daily and taken off site

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Actually Col's pretty dumb

by OH Smeg In reply to Col seems to know a thing ...

He's naiver used much in the way of External TAPE drives and other than one a very long time ago that worked off a Com Port.

You couldn't format tapes on that thing but it was portable and the people who used it seemed to like it a lot.

The only thing I've ever seen with External USB or eSATA Drives is the fact that they get hot really quickly and die quite fast. But none of those has ever been a Tape Drive so I'm not sure.

But provided that it works USB may be too slow just depending on how big the backup actually is. eSATA may be better if that is an option.


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How about USB hard drives?

by TonytheTiger In reply to Have you used SATA or USB ...
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Don't have the option of another location

by jdclyde In reply to How about USB hard drives ...

and I really don't trust the users to be carrying around a removable hard drive.

Putting in a comprehensive backup solution a year ago like I wanted was not important, but since our unbacked up email system died last week, it is suddenly a justified expense. Not saying I told them so, but I did.

Side note, I want this to be as simple of a solution as possible. I need it to "just work" easily and reliably.

I just wasn't sure if I wanted the USB or SATA. The drive will never be disconnected as I am also going to be consolidating all of their computer needs from 4 old servers down to one new server. They will be in a MUCH better position to maintain this if/after I am gone with the changes I am going to be putting in place.

I think I am going to go with the internal SATA DAT72.

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JD I've seen some nasty problems with Simple Solutions

by OH Smeg In reply to Don't have the option of ...

At a Government Department here they delegated the Backup Job to a Night Time Security Guard who had no idea of anything to do with computers. He was told to bung the tape in press these 2 buttons and then he could walk away which is exactly what he did.

6 Months latter when the server HDD's died and all of their Data went with it they discovered that for the past 6 months the Tape Drive was broken and only ran for a minute or two. Long enough for the Security Guard to walk away and not know even if he had of known any better.

The one thing to look at though with External Tapes is the ability to Format the Tape in the External Drive.

I don't have any experience with these things other than 1 instance years ago and I found that because you where unable to format the Tape it wasn't a really good solution.

The drive would mess up the Tape's Formatting and then you have to replace the otherwise perfectly good tape. Of course if you got tapes with the Wrong Format or unformatted they where useless with that drive as well.


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They are all internal drives I am looking at

by jdclyde In reply to JD I've seen some nasty p ...

internal always costs less than external, and I have zero need for portability.

But as for drives going back, that is another reason I don't want to just get a scsi controller and move the existing one over.

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OH well in that case JD

by OH Smeg In reply to They are all internal dri ...

I have a little experience with Tape Drives.

HP which covers a wide range of Drive Makes, make a part way decent drive but they don't repair them they replace them while Under Guarantee and when they are no longer UG they expect you to buy new.

Works OK provided that you don't need backward compatibility as I've had several customers who use HP tape drives that needed data off Tapes written to by the Old Drives. Their newly replaced drives didn't read the tapes even though they where the same form factor.

These days there are a multitude of SATA Drives that are available and they all seem to work well. The Internal USB ones that I've seen use 2 USB Ports to increase Data Speed but can be a bit flaky when used with Windows but seem to work OK when used on a Nix based system.

My personal preference these days is for the Tandenberg Drives but they are sort of pricey and more high end probably too expensive for what your company wants at the moment. Of course when they loose Data and can not recover it they see them as cheap.

Sony has some decent low end Drives as well and then there are the IBM drives used in Tape Libraries which are way overpriced but very good. I love the things they just are unlikable but by the same token you pay for them to begin with.

Just go with what you can afford or have budgeted and make sure that they are bolted to a metal frame to disperse as much heat as possible. It doesn't hurt having 2 drives if they are low end drives that way you can recover off the second drive in the file cabinet when the first one fails. Great if the replacement drive that is supplied doesn't read the old tapes which is very common.

I just flog 2 drives every time that I need to and keep one as a backup so that when the Drive fails you can still have access to the Data. It's much cheaper than needing to send the Tape to a Data Recovery Specialist . I've needed to do that on more than 1 occasion and the companies see just how cheap a second drive is in comparison.

Just remember to get a Cleaning Tape and use it regularly it's very important with these drives.


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by seanferd In reply to OH well in that case JD

So very dumb.


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whether USB, internal tape, external tape someones gotta look

by CG IT In reply to They are all internal dri ...

that's been my experience and seems as well as everyone elses. No one knows if there's something on the tape until emergency time.

Hopefully your customer realizes that someone's gotta look at the data on the tape. That's where Justin's USB HDDs are more appealing. you can actually look into the drive and check files and folders. Might require some prelim steps to make sure the backup software finds the right drive, but atleast someone can look at the data easily enough to verify it's there.

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might consider the powervault 114T

by CG IT In reply to Have you used SATA or USB ...

with DAT72.

note: the thing about backups is, checking to make sure there's stuff actually on the tape that's usable. Many believe since a backup is run the data is safe, and we've all heard the stories, or are actually the IT guy who goes in when a server crashes, everyone smiling thinking they got backups, only to find out, there's nothing usable on the tape.

There's always the cloud but ya know, I just don't trust "the cloud" vendors.

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