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  #181  
Old 11th November 2015
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Re: Windows Hell

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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
Interesting, I'd no idea there were still such things as tape drives. I used to use 400MB Travan tapes for backups but these days I use a USB hard drive. My tape drive may be in the attic but I doubt very much if it'd work with Windows 7!
Tape drives did fall by the wayside for a while around the year 2000; I suspect mainly because of limited storage capacity, but also because there were several incompatible systems running alongside each other. This wasn't helped by the fact that you could write 800 MB to a CD, which was a lot of data back then, even if few people realised how vulnerable a CD's and DVD's were to data loss!

Digital Audio Tapes were popular for a while, and are still used now, but these could only store about 80 GB of uncompressed data, which isn't much by todays' standards.

However, the launch of the 'Ultrium' Linear Tape Open (LTO) system in the year 2000 changed all that by creating one common system that was supported by all of the major computer manufacturers. The original LTO-1 tapes stored up to 200 GB of compressed data. Capacity was approximately doubled for each generation, so the current LTO-6 tapes will each store about 5 TB of compressed data, with sustained read and write speeds of 160 MB/s!

One essential element of the LTO standard is that tape drives must be able to read and write to previous generation tapes, and must be able to read the past two generations (i.e. LTO-5 drives must be able to read and write to LTO-4 tapes, and must be able to read from LTO-3 tapes).

LTO drives connect to the host computer via SCSI or SAS, and are thankfully OS independent, so any LTO drive should work with Windows XP, 7, 8.* and with Mac.
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  #182  
Old 11th November 2015
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Re: Windows Hell

I hadn't realised that tape storage had moved on so much but I am still worried that like all these things the interfaces and drivers will become obsolete. How many people have a SCSI interface these days (I last used one 10 years ago), PATA hard disks, or floppy drives?
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  #183  
Old 11th November 2015
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Re: Windows Hell

Out of interest I just looked for an LTO-6 tape drive. 1500 upwards. You can get a lot of USB hard drives for that!
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Old 11th November 2015
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Re: Windows Hell

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Originally Posted by Dewi9 View Post
OK, hands up, how many folk here have installed Windows on their computers at home ?
Like others on here, if you have problems with Windows, walk away from it. Especially when they start charging for W10 next year.
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  #185  
Old 11th November 2015
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Re: Windows Hell

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Originally Posted by OM USer View Post
I hadn't realised that tape storage had moved on so much but I am still worried that like all these things the interfaces and drivers will become obsolete. How many people have a SCSI interface these days (I last used one 10 years ago), PATA hard disks, or floppy drives?
SCSI (Small Computer Systems interface) is still very widely used in server applications, and is very fast, but is gradually being replaced by SAS (Serial attached SCSI) which is even faster.

As far as I can see all of the tape drivers are manufactured by one company to a common specification, and are supplied in almost identical cases and badged by HP, Quantum, Tandberg and other manufacturers. As such the drivers seem to be universal, and are built in to the OS. Drivers may also be provided with backup software.

However, the great thing with the LTO system is that backwards compatibility is guaranteed whilst development is continuing. The LTO-7 drives which are due out next year will provide 12 GB of compressed storage per tape, whilst LTO-10, which is road mapped for some time in the future will provide in excess of 90 TB of storage!

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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
Out of interest I just looked for an LTO-6 tape drive. 1500 upwards. You can get a lot of USB hard drives for that!
You can indeed, but these are heavyweight commercial solutions, and once bought the tapes are dirt cheap. 15 buys an LTO-5 tape which stores up to 3 GB of data, and offers lower error rates than any hard drive.

And you can buy used drives (especially LTO-2, 3, 4 and 5) in perfectly good condition for a fraction of the cost of new ones.

LTO-5 and 6 are the current top of the range models, but LTO-2 and 3 drives are still available new for those who do not need masses of storage space.
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  #186  
Old 26th May 2016
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Re: Windows Hell

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
15 buys an LTO-5 tape which stores up to 3 GB of data
I think you meant TB

I have a 1/2 inch tape still at work - I terrify the students that we get in by telling them I need data off a backup and hand them that and a manual mag card reader and tell them they have to pull it through at a constant rate, and don't crinkle the tape as it's the only copy we have

Yes tapes are still used and for large volume backup where we move it offsite every night they are really the only option

We can backup up to about 100Tb in the tape library we run if its running fully loaded

What frightens me these days is how small servers have got - we just got a new set of kit at work that can run something like 40 odd virtual servers each one with many cores and many Tb of storage and the whole lot is not much bigger than my Tower PC at home. At the end of this project I think we are decommissioning about 3 full racks of 5-10 year old physical servers which have been replaced by this one VM unit where we can stand up a server on the fly almost - true progress

BTW Windows 10 I love it - installed in moments & virtually no issues since then

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  #187  
Old 26th May 2016
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Re: Windows Hell

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Originally Posted by shenstone View Post
I think you meant TB
Yes, I did mean TB.

Since writing on this subject we have installed a new LTO-6 drive to increase our storage capacity. The speed and capacity of these things is just phenomenal, especially when backing up data from the PCIe SSD in our server.

On the subject of floppy disks I see the American military still use these to store data concerning their nuclear defence systems.

BBC Report

I suppose they will be fairly secure though as there are very few machines outside of the US military that will read a floppy disk nowadays!

I just hope they keep the floppies well away from their mobile phones!
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  #188  
Old 29th May 2016
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Re: Windows Hell

There's one consolation chaps - if the Yanks corrupt their floppies, The Donald won't be able to launch his nukes will he? (Always assuming he gets himself elected....)
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