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I have about 50-75 LTO3 tapes stacked in my server room. Does anyone have any creative solutions on how to properly store them so they're easily accessed?

All the LTO3 cabinets I see are thousands of dollars, which seems overpriced to me.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Not really creative, but you might want to consider a fireproof safe (preferably as far away from the server room as possible).

This is budget and location dependant, but companies exist that will store your backup tapes offsite and bring you the relevant ones for changing each (day|week|month) and will courier them to you in the event of an emergency situation.

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Yet again, I have to say I agree with Ben. There's a time and a place for "creative", and securing backups isn't it. If you can't store backups offsite (or even if you can) Fire proof safes, ideally in a different part of the site to the server room mean having to explain to your boss that the data is safe once the fire dept. say its safe to go get it. "Creative solutions" mean having to explain that apparently a giant hollowed out furby isn't up to fire code and all your data is gone. – RobM Jan 11 '11 at 23:55
Of course it depends on the company. My boss won't spend the money for a fire resistant or fire proof safe nor for offsite storage. He's aware of the risk and understands that the risk is his, not mine. That being said, I store our tapes in a full size office file cabinet. – joeqwerty Jan 12 '11 at 0:15
i normally use turtle cases. – SpacemanSpiff Jan 12 '11 at 0:23
Also consider that the safe should be "Data Rated"; a fireproof safe not explicitly designed for magnetic tape is designed for paper, which has a higher and longer tolerance for heat exposure. – AndyN Jan 12 '11 at 0:46
If you look at fireproof safes, check if they can be used for fireproofing tapes or only paper materials. – mtinberg Jan 12 '11 at 0:48

Take a look at some of the consumer media racks. Some of those will work with LTO cartridges and are a whole lot cheaper than the "professional" racks. They're basically just book cases with a lot of shelves. One with the shelves tilting back a little would probably be nicer because they won't fall out if you bump one.

share|improve this answer i was looking at something like this, seems to be the cheapest "professional" solution. – Michael Jan 14 '11 at 2:38

I once made a rack that attached to the side of one of the server racks. It looked and worked much like those used for cigarette packets and the like seen in many stores. The added bonus was that it provided automatic tape cycling, with the one being required being pulled out of the bottom and the old one being placed back on the top of the stack. Of course there's no reason such a rack couldn't be built or placed into something else, such as a fire rated safe.

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There was something that someone told me they used years ago. I want to say old ice trays (you know from before the fridge had ice in the door). Cut out (or otherwise remove) the long divider and the tapes should rest easily in the tray standing up right. The tapes should be about the same width as the ice cube openings are.

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I don't want you anywhere near my server room! :P – Publiccert Jan 12 '11 at 0:10
What? Plastic trays, holding tapes with plastic shells. Keeps them at a slight angle so they don't slide out or fall off the shelf. If you are worried about them falling screw them to the shelf (they are plastic after all). You would love me near your server room, I have a habit of getting management to approve all the expensive stuff that I want to get my job done. :) – mrdenny Jan 12 '11 at 0:15
Will you request a new desk chair for me? If're hired. – Publiccert Jan 12 '11 at 0:31
I'll request anything. "Dear @Jeffrey's boss, please give him a comfy place to rest his bum while keeping the company running. Sincerely, mrdenny" Just let me know where to send it, and let me know how it goes. – mrdenny Jan 12 '11 at 0:38
Your fridge has ice in the door? I want. – Mark Henderson Jan 12 '11 at 1:12

We now use an offsite, fireproof, data-rated safe as suggested above, but in a previous job, we used a secure offsite data storage service.

We had 4 big plastic storage tubs, with 20 tapes in each tub, eg, an autoloader's worth. we swapped them out once a week in a 4 week rotation. We had the option of transporting the tapes ourselves, or Chubb would turn up and do it for us.

This worked pretty well, assuming you trust whoever's transporting the tapes for you (or you do it yourself.)

The plastic tubs kept the tapes relatively dust free, too.

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