Evan Anderson mentioned in another solution you could buy a LTO-4 (autoloader, 1 tape / day) - $4,566.00 (the discussion included total cost of tapes for a specific rotation.)

but I don't know specifics on what he or you would recommend for the actual drive and if necessary controller. Show me a newegg URL or CDW, Dell, or HP, or whatever your favorite vendor would be for your solution if you don't mind looking it up or just give me a brand and a model number and I'll be glad to do the leg work myself.

I currently have on have on hand an external LTO 3 drive that uses LVD SCSI interface (and thus have a controller card that has an external LVD SCSI connector). If that card isn't sufficient to interface to a LTO 4 drive let me know.

http://www.fujifilmusa.com/shared/bin/LTO_Overview.pdf shows minimum tape speeds for LTO4 and other LTO formats. It looks like the IBM LTO4 actually has a lower minimum speed than the IBM LTO3. Either way my average server is too slow to feed LTO3/4 without shoeshining so I'm looking for a drive with a low minimum write speed. If you trust the PDF from 2008 that makes my choices

IBM LTO 4 full height
IBM LTO 4 half height
HP LTO 4 half height

but presumably there are other options out there that weren't mentioned in the fuji PDF.

Again I'm looking for a specific recommendation on a drive to buy (and the controller if needed).

closed as too localized by splattne Jan 22 '12 at 9:48

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  • Are you looking for a standalone drive or an autoloader? – James Mar 18 '10 at 13:18
  • I'm open for either option. As long as it plays nice with backup exec 12.5 and is reasonably priced. – pplrppl Mar 18 '10 at 22:08

I believe I was talking about the Quantum SuperLoader 3 with and LTO-4 element when I wrote that comparison you're referring to. I have Customers with the LTO-3 version of that SuperLoader 3 model and it's been a real champ. I'd recommend getting an extended service plan on the unit for the desired operational lifetime. It'll add some cost, but I wouldn't gamble with not having replacement capability available in case of failure after the initial 1 year warranty.

If you can't feed the LTO-4 fast enough you may want to consider getting some "nearline" disk and doing disk-to-disk-to-tape backups in lieu of attempting to pull directly from the source servers to the tape. A simple RAID-0 or RAID-10 of SATA disks ought to be fast enough to stream data to an LTO-4.


We use a SAS connected Powervault 124T with a LTO-4-120 drive in it. It is available with a Ultra 160 LVD SCSI interface as well. Theoretically, using the slower LVD interface shouldn't slow down the drive any, but I wouldn't bet on that.

We did have to have it replaced once, but other then that we are pretty happy with it. The drive itself is made by Quantum. I am not sure who outside of Quantum and IBM even makes drives anymore. Hardware setup was a breeze; we are using it with BackupExec.

Cost is the main selling point of this unit IMHO. We also looked at the Dell TL2000, but couldn't justify the price delta.

  • IBM, Sun, and HP drives are made by Quantum. I don't know who makes the Dell units. There aren't many manufacturers left anymore. – Chris S Mar 18 '10 at 13:59

We just bought the internal version of the HP EH922SB yesterday after searching around a bit. We're an HP shop to begin with, so I'm biased, but if you're in the same boat you'll probably want to go with HP as well. And at $2800 you can swap it out and keep using the LTO3 tapes until you've exhausted your current supply then switch to the LTO4 tapes (or switch now if you need the storage now).


Regarding the comment by Chris: IBM, Sun, and HP drives are made by Quantum. I don't know who makes the Dell units. There aren't many manufacturers left anymore. – Chris S Mar 18 at 13:59

Actually, as one of the inventors of the LTO tape format, HP makes their own LTO tape drives. They are designed and tested in Boise, Idaho. Every drive sold helps keep engineering jobs in the U.S.!


I can't tell you where to get an LTO drive. However, I will tell you that we switched from LTO to hard drives over a year ago. Hard disks are cheaper and faster. We now use an esata harddisk hotswap system. I would not use tape based backup again unless there is some amazing drop in prices.

  • 1
    Do you ship your backups offsite? Archiving HDDs is quite a bit more tedious than archiving tape, due to its sensitivity to vibrations, etc. – MDMarra Mar 22 '10 at 3:07
  • 1
    I don't know where you buy your drives and tapes but I buy tapes for roughly one third the price of a similar sized hard drive. Of course that's no the whole story, as hard drives do not have the redundancy, error detection and correction systems of a modern tape systems. – John Gardeniers Mar 22 '10 at 5:24
  • @sims: I have yet to see a hard disk drive-based backup system that actually competes with the cost and durability of tapes (and don't think I haven't been looking). RDX is HIDEOUSLY expensive per GB, and anything else I've found has been some knocked-together SATA disks in cages. In terms of enterprise-ready, name brand, supported solutions I have yet to find anything that compares to tape. – Evan Anderson Mar 22 '10 at 20:58
  • Yes, they are taken off site. In Japan tapes are way more expensive per GB that HDD. And yes, it is a knocked up SATA system made yours truly. It's certainly not suitable for backing up thousands of PB a day, but it is fine for backing up hundreds of GB a day. The size of the disks alone removes the need for auto rotation mechanics. Then again, this is not PB level backup. ;) – d-_-b Mar 27 '10 at 6:59

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