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Date:      Mon, 8 Sep 2003 18:51:57 +1000
From:      Peter Jeremy <PeterJeremy@optushome.com.au>
To:        "Jason A. Crome" <crome@devnetinc.com>
Cc:        freebsd-hardware@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: Recommendations for Tape Drives?
Message-ID:  <20030908085157.GE44292@cirb503493.alcatel.com.au>
In-Reply-To: <000001c372e9$8faef460$2600a8c6@cromedome>
References:  <000001c372e9$8faef460$2600a8c6@cromedome>

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On Thu, Sep 04, 2003 at 08:36:35AM -0500, Jason A. Crome wrote:
>I am in the process of setting up several x86-based FreeBSD servers and will
>be in need of a quality backup solution.  Which tape drives, in your
>experience, play nicely with FreeBSD, and what software would you recommend
>to go with it?

On the software side, dump(8) is defintely the best way to go.
Nothing else can match it for handling wierd cases.  There are two
downsides:
1) You can confuse it by turning a file into a directory (or is it
   vice versa) whilst the dump is running.
2) The lack of internal filesystem buffering can hurt throughput.
   Matt Dillon committed some changes that help but it's still below
   filesystem throughput.

For network awareness, amanda has a good reputation though I haven't
used it personally.

As for a tape drive, last time I checked (admittedly a year ago),
SuperDLT seemed to be the most cost-effective solution in the 100GB
region.  Compaq were also selling a (relatively) cheap 26 slot
library if you needed more capacity.

One problem with raw tape drives is keeping them streaming - once they
switch to start/stop mode, both the performance and reliability drop
significantly.  This is a particular problem with dump.  You might
find it useful to have some disk space for staging (dump to disk and
then dd the disk to tape).  You'll also need Gigabit Ethernet to
avoid saturating the network to the tape drive.

Peter



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