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I like the benefit of tape in that you get permanent snapshots of data at a given point in time, but popular business tape backup i.e. LTO is still expensive.

So if you are using tape for backups at home/small business what did you go with and why?

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You get some info from serverfault - serverfault.com/questions/1282/your-home-backup-strategy –  MicTech Jul 29 '09 at 18:12
    
Thanks for that! Am I the only one who still loves tape? I understand the benefit/simplicity of HD backup, but there's something really nice about an offline tape that won't get overwritten or have a head crash. –  atom255 Jul 29 '09 at 18:14
    
Like any medium tape has its benefits and drawbacks. Tape's biggest advantage was high storage capacity. In all other respects it has always been mediocre: speed, reliability, portability ease of use. Not that it was terrible at any of these. Just other solutions were better. Now the gap in storage capacity between tape and other choices is shrinking more and more. Making tape less appealing than it once was. –  Kenneth Cochran Jul 29 '09 at 18:39
    
I'm half-tempted to look at tape backup for completed video projects - things I don't need immediate access to, but where having the original project-files in a year or two could be useful. Harddrives aren't great at long-term storage.. –  dbr Aug 1 '09 at 15:08
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3 Answers

I have stopped using tape backups for a long time.
And, after the problems with optical media (CD/DVD),
I have actually started using external USB drives and solid state flash drives for backup.

It also helps to keep a checksum (md5sum) along with the backups,
and, test them periodically.

With optical media backups, it helps to check every year and probably transfer the data to a new optical disc at some good time.

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Sadly I don't have the rep to up-vote yet. Nice call on the solid state option, less chance of a hardware failure, maybe if the price comes down some more I'd feel more comfortable with it. Also a nice switch like on flash drives to mark it read-only. –  atom255 Jul 29 '09 at 18:17
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You do now. Voting up only requires 15 points. –  Kenneth Cochran Jul 29 '09 at 18:47
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I don't use tape backups anymore. That data which I do back up is usually somewhere in "The Cloud" (gmail/google apps and GitHub).

However, when I did backups regularly, I used an Ecrix (Exabyte) VXA-1 tape drive. It holds about 33G uncompressed and the tapes can take a hell of a beating and still work. I used BRU to back up, as it was tar-like (I'm a Linux geek), and I used to work for the company that wrote the software (so I'm biased :)).

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I am using an external hard disk instead of a tape. Tape is nice to have, but having near online or a fully online backup is by far the way to go.

Course nowadays you can probably find old tape devices on eBay for all the companies who are going out of business due to the recession. I have encountered guys who literally have warehouses of servers, tape drives, switches, disk arrays, 42U racks for the plundering. The prices are very reasonable. I was there buying a $1500 rack and it cost us a whole $100. You can expect similar results if you are talking to the right kind of IT liquidator.

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can you recommend any of the "right kind of IT liquidator"? –  BillN Jul 29 '09 at 18:47
    
These places are very much dependent on where you are located. You want to find someone local to you as the shipping costs will likely be higher than the costs of the equipment itself. I would look on eBay. That is where I found a liquidator close to me. I asked him if I could come inspect the equipment which is how I was able to see everything he had for sale. Look for folks selling racks, servers, switches all at ridiculous prices. Chances are you have found a liquidator. –  Axxmasterr Jul 29 '09 at 18:53
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