Long-term Archiving: the Cloud, LTO tapes and Spinning Media

Long-term archiving has become an important topic over the last several years. We get many questions regarding our software’s compatibility with different drives and solutions as well as, spinning disks vs. tapes and of course, the cloud. Here are some quick things to keep in mind when thinking about long-term storage.

Spinning disks vs tape

Spinning disks are not meant for long-term storage. An analogy I heard years ago that really stuck with me; spinning disks are like car engines. They need to move and when they sit on the side of the road or on a shelf for years without moving, their parts can become stuck in place! This is not good for a car and its not good for spinning disks. LTO tapes are designed to sit on a shelf for years and mount and run just like they did on day one.

The cloud

#trending, right? EVERYWHERE you look its cloud this and cloud that!! But the reality is that the cloud is here to stay and it checks many boxes when it comes to long-term storage. The ability to access clips or projects from anywhere in the world is a powerful draw. But there are some things to consider like bandwidth and storage costs. LTO is a one time sunk cost, but the cloud is a monthly or annual subscription in many cases.

Security can be a big concern as well. We all remember the Sony hack a few years ago. Cloud storage is a great tool. However, it should be used in conjunction with other more secure long term archiving tools. The 3-2-1 rule is a good way to remember where and how many copies of your media you should have. This rule suggests 3 copies, 2 local but on different media and 1 offsite. For example, having a hard drive stored locally for quick reference, an LTO tape stored locally for long-term access and the cloud backup which is offsite and accessible from anywhere.

Our best advice? Consider using LTO and the cloud together for a truly secure long-term storage solution.

Archiving software

Occasionally we get questions about using ShotPut Pro for long-term or LTO archiving. This is NOT a good idea and here’s why. LTFS or Linear Tape File System was specifically written with LTO tapes in mind. If tapes are not written correctly a lot of back and forth thrashing can occur which can tear up the drive.

There are also certain rules that must be adhered to with naming characters, etc. when writing to tape. LTFS takes these rules and illegal characters into consideration so it must be present in the software code. ShotPut Pro is an offloading tool that has NO LTFS code written into it. More appropriate software solutions would be PreRoll Post or myLTO, both of which were developed with LTFS and long-term storage in mind. PreRoll Post gives the capability to retrieve files efficiently from tapes. ShotPut Pro do not. Check out the demos on our website for a more in-depth understanding of these apps.

Have more questions? Reach out to us! We are happy to help. #archivesecurely

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