Single Tape Devices and Libraries

Single Tape Devices and Libraries

You will also need to make a choice between single tape devices (or manual) or tape libraries. A manual device requires the operator to insert and remove tapes manually. A tape library can hold a certain number of tapes, and load them automatically. These libraries can also make use of more than one tape device, increasing throughput and functionality.

It is quite simple to determine your needs in this case. When automating the backups to run at night, you should be able to do this without manual intervention (unless you have operators who can mount tapes). This means that the backup should hold one tape. This can easily be determined if you are using a full backup pattern (see Full/Incremental Pattern and Full/Differential Pattern), but could get difficult if you're using the incremental pattern, because you do not have a clear vision of tape usage/reusage.

Besides the enlarged capacity, libraries can also be used to install a low maintenance backup solution. This could mean that you could hold a series of backups in your libraries, lowering the need for operator intervention.

Another point to consider is the total number of backup copies which should be stored (in other words, the expiration time of a backup). For several reasons it is a wise decision to keep more than one backup generations:

Using single tape drives, the consequence is simple: Buy enough cartridges. Do not try to save money here - even multiplying the cartridge stock is much cheaper than the financial loss in critical situations.

For tape libraries, you have to decide how many backup generations will be kept in the library itself. This may change the choice of the library model dramatically, since you will need to add these copies to the storage capacity needed.

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