Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience and exclusive discounts in our eBay Store.

Tape drive backup

Status
Not open for further replies.

Oko

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
132
Could anybody share her/his experience in backing up FreeNAS box to a tape drive please? Is it possible with ZFS, is it worthy and in what circumstances? Can I do ZFS replication to a tape drive?
 

cyberjock

Inactive Account
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
19,526
No tape drive drivers are in FreeNAS, so any backups to tape are going to have to be via a second system, which means that your choice of backup solution is a personal choice based on your network and server needs.
 

Ericloewe

Not-very-passive-but-aggressive
Moderator
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
17,010
Will the drivers be in 9.3?
Unlikely, since it's something a bit outside the purview of FreeNAS and a shrinking niche.
 

fracai

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
1,210
Pfft, Zip drives? Have fun backing up to your many boxes of disks. Now, give me Jaz support and we're talking. I'd need around HALF as many shoeboxes of disks.
 

Mlovelace

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
1,065
I replicate my FN box to virtual tape everyday :p
 

cyberjock

Inactive Account
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
19,526
Tape support isn't expected anytime in the future. Tapes aren't generally useful at the massive scale ZFS is designed to operate at, so it's kind of useless except for small scale builds. But that's not what iXsystems and TrueNAS is all about.
 

anodos

Sambassador
iXsystems
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
7,256
Tape support isn't expected anytime in the future. Tapes aren't generally useful at the massive scale ZFS is designed to operate at, so it's kind of useless except for small scale builds. But that's not what iXsystems and TrueNAS is all about.
If you use LTO6 and an autoloader then tapes aren't impossibly terrible (and you can get up to 40TB capacity uncompressed), but enough bad experiences with old tapes and trying to recover data really leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Of course, you could probably build a second FreeNAS appliance as a replication target for the cost of the tapes, autoloader, HBA, and backup software. :)
 

jpoa

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
24
It's possible, it works and it's worth it.

Let me elaborate:

Possible: You need bacula. FreeNAS detects the tape writer (your mileage may vary) and passes all bacula tests with flying colours.
Works: Not out-of-the-box. Some tinkering is needed. Worst part if finding the little details that prevent it from working (looking back its actually quite simple).
Worth: It's tape. ZFS is good but not good enough to simply discard other archive mechanisms because they are not "cool" anymore. You really shouldn't handle your data like that IMHO.

Just though it would be relevant to the discussion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oko

cyberjock

Inactive Account
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
19,526
Yeah, except tapes are dying. There was an article on Slashdot just last week asking the question 'are tape-based technologies dead/dying?' and the answer was pretty much 'yep'.
 

jpoa

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
24
Greetings cyberjock!

I'm not so sure about that idea, but please allow me (purely academic discussion). Went to slashdot in search of the mentioned thread, and maybe its the one from "storagedude", which was a link to an article on enterprisestorageforum. Reading the articles I could not conclude that tape was dying anytime soon (as indeed mentioned by the original author).

Tape has (very) clear advantages over disk, mainly in data density, data longevity and reliability, not to mention total cost of ownership.

In the sake of full redundancy, backups must (or at the very least should) be stored on more than one media type. Unless there is some other high data density technology it's pretty much down to hard drives and tapes. Not to mention compliance with data archive agreements which in most cases forces tape to be used. Emphasis on the archive part.

Cloud is out of the questions for reasons which I think are not worth arguing here.

Just for context, Google implemented RAID4 over tape. Several reasonings for this, but a big one is precisely the fact that it isn't HDD. As mentioned by Raymond Blum they would use punch cards if they were efficient enough.

Joke aside, I also believe tape will be replaced by another technology some day, but unless I missed some big news in the area I have yet to see an alternative appear.

Please note that I am a huge fan of ZFS, but it has nothing to do with this discussion. ZFS is a file system, mainly running on top of magnetic disks. We are talking about media here, it's a different layer.

Cheers!
 

cyberjock

Inactive Account
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
19,526
Did you read the comments on the article from slashdot? So many people had reasons why they moved away from LTO a long time ago and some had fairly detailed stories of it.

LTO is dead, whether anyone has realized it or not. The limitations LTO has (such as recovery speeds) cannot be easily fixed when pitted against a backup from hard drives.
 

jpoa

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
24
Yes I did.

I'm not advocating against backing up to hard drives, especially due to the high recovery speeds as you have mentioned yourself.

I'm simply stating that after backing up to hard drives you should backup to another media as a second tier backup strategy.

And aside from hard drives, the only media which is effective (as far as I can say, possibly) is tape.
 

Z300M

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
882
Did you read the comments on the article from slashdot? So many people had reasons why they moved away from LTO a long time ago and some had fairly detailed stories of it.

LTO is dead, whether anyone has realized it or not. The limitations LTO has (such as recovery speeds) cannot be easily fixed when pitted against a backup from hard drives.
A member of my extended family who works for a corporation dealing with obscene amounts of data told me that they use large-room-sized robotic tape systems for backup -- but which specific tape technology they use I have no idea.
 

cyberjock

Inactive Account
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
19,526
A member of my extended family who works for a corporation dealing with obscene amounts of data told me that they use large-room-sized robotic tape systems for backup -- but which specific tape technology they use I have no idea.
I worked for the government, and we had similar backup hardware. The thing is, the scale you are talking about (and what I saw) is far beyond the size the forum typically refers to.

You've got the cost of the hardware, cost of the tapes, cost of downtime for restoration time, etc. Many companies (like the government) own this stuff before expectations where set on recovery time. Today the same command has zero tape and is all hard-drive based because the expectation is that if you cannot do a full recovery at network line speed then you are wasting time.

For users with lots of data, (like multi-PB of data) tape is probably a very cost effective solution. But when you are talking about things within the realm of this forum, most people will find the most cost effective solution is a second server. Just try to put together a tape-based solution that stores 50TB of data, then try the same with disk-based. The problem is exactly what the slashdot article touched on though. If you don't have a large user base that uses the technology, thereby making it cost effective for R&D purposes, the cost per-unit will be rather high. That has the downside of making the technology even less appealing and even harder to make cost effective.

Personally, of all of the IT guys I know, only 1 place I know of uses tape. It's a fortune-500 company, so naturally lots of data is to be expected. 10 years ago most of the guys admit to have used tape, but tape was just not cost effective (or very performance-friendly) when pitted against hard drives. Even when I was in the military we had our LTO system break. I replaced it with a couple of 250GB hard drives (yes, this was circa 2004) and the cost of the drives was less than the cost of the replacement tape deck without the cost of the tapes (which was about $50 each at that time).
 

aaronouthier

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
81
Hello!

I snagged a great deal on an LTO-3 Autoloader (HP Storageworks Ultrium). Cost me a cool $100 from a guy who closed his business and was desperate for some cash. I have it connected via SCSI add-on card to my server (an HP Proliant DL380 G5 2x Dual-Core Xeon 5150 CPUs).

I can "see" the device in /dev/ and I have installed Bacula Server via the plug-in. I have never used Bacula before, and I don't know how to setup snapshots in FreeNAS - I've never tried. I'm running FreeNAS 9.3 stable, with all available patches/updates, as of this writing.

It is mostly for curiosity's sake that I am doing this - I want to better my knowledge and understanding with regard to this kind of stuff - even if it is antiquated…

Would some kind soul take a moment to share their knowledge and experience in getting this tape autoloader setup?

In the long run, I would like to setup Parallels Plesk Panel in VirtualBox and schedule a periodic backup of my sites to tape.

I have 3 tapes already loaded into the left magazine.

Kind regards!

--Aaron
 

jpoa

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
24
Greetings,

I have a working config but it took some off-the-road steps since the bacula plugin on FreeNAS does some things less well and you have to force some options.

There is an effort from my side to get my setup properly documented ASAP, but I cannot promise a time frame, would like it to be March though (might be possible).

I seriously advise you to look for some documentation on Bacula. Check the quick start guide and try to understand what the main concepts are. The learning curve might be a bit steep, but handling tapes "manually" is not scalable IMHO.

Best regards!
 

aaronouthier

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
81
jpoa, any progress on getting your setup documented? I believe I have bacula-server figured out from a general standpoint.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top