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LTO Backup & Archiving
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Why LTO?

The old adage ‘Death and Taxes’ could equally be replaced with ‘Death and Data Loss’. The causes of data loss take many forms, corrupted data or file systems, failed drives or devices, sadly malicious and ransomware attacks are increasingly common, and of course human error. In the modern world rich with data there are said to be two types of people: those that have experienced data loss and those that will. Data loss is inevitable unless robust data protection strategies are put in place. This is where the Superpowers of LTO can prove to be invaluable.  

LTO, or to give it its full name Linear Tape Open, was first launched in 2000 through a joint effort by IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Seagate Technology.  LTO-1 had a capacity of 100GB per cartridge, fast forward to 2024 and there are 30 companies now supporting the LTO consortium, and LTO-9 has been shipping for two years with a capacity of 18TB.  2024 will likely see the release of LTO-10 at 36TB per cartridge, and the LTO roadmap goes all the way out to LTO-14 with a predicted capacity of up to 576TB, by the mid-2030s. 

What makes LTO such a successful long-time storage strategy is its extremely high data integrity (10,000 times more reliable than a hard disk, 1000 times more reliable than an SSD when comparing Bit Error Rates), a universal format in the form of LTFS, it’s high-performance, resistance to malware (by creating an air-gap), extended life span (30 years), ease of transport, and low carbon footprint both in the manufacturing process and daily operation. For example, based on an eight-year life cycle, tape media has a carbon footprint that is over 55 times lower than SSD, and over 25 times lower than HDD. 1PB of data retained for 10 years, LTO-9 tape solutions provide a significant benefit for data storage: LTO-9 SAVINGS: $139,448 vs. HDD and $516,503 vs. CLOUD DEEP ARCHIVE 

These Superpowers make it the technology of choice for backing up and archiving data across an enormous number of market verticals, and from personal users, SMBs, SMEs, Datacentre and Hyper-Scalers. 

3-2-1 Data Protection Strategy. What is it, and how Should it be Applied? 

The 3-2-1 is a data protection strategy that is universally mandated by various organizations and institutions across many industries including Media and Entertainment, SMBs, SMEs, Healthcare, Education, Research, Surveillance, and Government. 

3: Always maintain at least three (3) copies of your d

ata. So, in addition to your primary data, you should have at least two other copies. 

2: Store your copies across at least two (2) different storage mediums. It is not recommended to store copies on the same type of media. For example, one copy on your primary system and two copies on LTO.  Or one copy on the primary system, one on LTO, and one in a public or private cloud. 

1: Store at least one (1) of your copies at an offsite location. It is highly recommended to keep at least one copy of the data away from the physical location of both the primary storage and the primary backup copy. Think about protecting against fire, flood, theft, natural disasters… LTO is ideal for this as it is high capacity and easily transportable. 

Two Better with 3-2-1-1-0 

With the rise of Malware and Ransomware, many organizations are now adopting a 3-2-1-1-0 policy. The first three steps are the same but in addition:

1: Keep at least one (1) of the copies offline. This means storing one of your copies completely offline with no active access or network connections. Such an offline copy is called an “air-gapped” backup. It is not possible for malicious actors to access the data.  LTO is ideal for this. 

0: Be sure to have verified the copies created have been made with zero (0) errors. Backups and archives are only meaningful if verified as being identical to the original data. Backups should also be monitored as part of a daily routine, and errors or inconsistencies solved as soon as possible. It is also important to perform restore tests to make sure everything is working as it should. 

What is LTFS? 

LTFS (Linear Tape File System) makes viewing and accessing tape files easier than ever before.  The LTFS format is used with LTO data tapes to allow you to share your data with others as it is supported on the Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. 

With LTFS, the LTO data tape is partitioned in two.  One partition holds the content and the other holds the content’s index, so the tape can be self-describing to improve archive management.  The nature of LTFS makes it an ideal archive and delivery format as it non-proprietary, allows for easy data interchange and simple migration between LTO generations if required. LTFS is supported with LTO-9, LTO-8, LTO-7, LTO-6, and LTO-5 drives, all SymplyPRO LTO products fully support the LTFS format. 

Although there are free open-source tools to implement LTO workflows, at Symply we recommend opting for software applications from Archiware, Hedge, Imagine Products Inc., Retrospect, storageDNA, Veeam, XenData, and YoYotta, to name only a few.  These backup and archiving applications are purpose-built to secure and keep track of your precious digital assets, via catalogues and databases, they provide checksums and compliance reporting.  As a partner with IBM, SymplyPRO LTO products are fully compatible with software applications that support IBM LTO drive technology. 

For more information on LTO media click here

Why Symply? 

The Symply team took a long hard look at the state of the backup archive market and compared it to what users were asking us for in affordable, robust, desktop, and rack-mounted systems. We saw a gap in the market and knew that several important pieces were needed to make daily use easier, faster, and better. LTO technology was the right choice to start with, but everything else needed to be a ground-up effort.  

The result was the SymplyPRO integrated family of LTO backup and archive products built with users in mind. Featuring SAS, Thunderbolt, and Ethernet-enabled desktop to full rack-mounted systems, and Ethernet to SAS Bridges. Symply’s line-up of LTO products offers a unique take on the world of long-term storage: we built them to answer the actual challenges faced by businesses and end users today. 

To talk through your specific requirements, speak to one of our experts at hello@gosymply.com

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