Backups [was Re: Is tape dead?]

Alexander Schreiber als at
Thu Sep 24 18:15:56 CDT 2015

On Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 03:32:27PM -0400, ethan at wrote:
> >Pictures and movies can be original work - perhaps not for you,
> >certainly mostly not for me (I have a few original pictures, but only a
> >few), but I know graphic designers and photographers who have probably
> >produced at least a gigabyte of original pictures each by now.  And
> >people into video production....
> I have a HD video production rig that goes out to some geek events
> and I've used it in the past at stuff. The data generated is around
> 5GB per hour (H264 1080i)
> A few years ago I bought a BD-R drive from Samsung, and recorded 3
> copies each of all the video from a few events that I wanted to put
> on the shelf. I verified the media was the metal stuff not the dye
> stuff (one is HTL, other is LTH, can't remember which is which.) 6
> months later all of the BD-R discs were unreadable. I blamed the
> drive, RMA'ed with Samsung and confirmed with a friend on his
> Pioneer -- nope, the media somehow lost all the data. Memorex
> branded, was what you could find commercially local. The thing is a
> lot of it is rebadged Ritek and other vendors. Data lost. Not
> thrilled, and not sure I can trust that format after that issue. I
> did buy some Verbatim BD-R media but haven't used it yet. Pretty
> much keep everything on power consuming heat producing spinning
> disk.

Well, I have been mulling buying a BD-writer for a while (much less
now since my backups go to LTO3), thanks for the warning - looks like
BD-R is another waste of time & money.
> I've heard some horror stories with tape as well.
> When I worked at NASA the powderhorns we had originally had some
> tape drive that was like $100,000 each but really I guess was made
> from SVHS VCRs. STK literally had two drives on site all the time as
> the ones that were swapped in that week when two would fail. I think
> they converted it over to an IBM tape, can't remember what the SVHS
> based thing was but it was single reel spooled out into the deck,
> probably 9840 or something.
> I would cut multiple tapes of anything you care about!

Depends very much on the tape technology. Anything based on VHS tape was
a complete waste of time and money. Anything based on helical scan cannot
be trusted (at a previous job, we would boot/install machines from DDS3
tapes and I kept 3-4 copies of each install tape. After two years I had
a nice big stack of failed tapes). Linear scan (e.g. DLT, LTO) with
read-after-write is the only tape technology worth trusting. Even so,
for data you care about, keep multiple copies and multiple generations

Kind regards,
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and
 looks like work."                                      -- Thomas A. Edison

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