View Full Version : Choosing a Tape Backup Drive

06-10-2001, 11:07 AM
I'm wanting to purchase a tape drive to backup approx 20-30Gb of data from macs and PCs. Im running PCMacLan on one PC so I guess I need to have the backup on thatmachine as it is the only one that can see all computers.
Should the drive be internal external IDE, SCSI, USB?

Can some one please explain the different tape formats 4mm 8mm DAT Traven etc. which is best?

07-10-2001, 04:09 PM
Tape sucks. The standard changes every few months and nobody else has the same type drive as you do.
8mm Dat has lasted a while, but isn't cheap. Do you really need to back up all 30gb?
I suppose the best and shortest answer is get something cheap, with cheap tapes. I prefer externally mounted so you can restore easily to another PC. Most tape drives come with some sort of scheduling software. I like Backup Exec more than ArcServe, but they both work.

For home backups, I would suggest it would be cheaper and easier to do something weird like mount another hard drive and dump to that, or use an external disk like the Ziv drive (see Page 59, October issue PCW). Burning onto CD isn't too bad, either. Permanent archive and can be restored anywhere, with less than $1 per CD it is cheap too. Only drawback is maximum storage.

Regards, Rob C

08-10-2001, 03:48 PM
The problem with cheap backup devices is that they are cheap Many of the 1/4' tapes took hours to produce a tape unreadable on the same machine, immediately after writing, let alone after a few months. I have an 8mm helical scan, it's good, but very expensive (I did not buy it new, and got a lot of new tapes cheap). The only tape format which would hold that much is DLT. Expensive, but seems to be trusted in professional use. For a home use, I would probably go with CDs, like Rob. It would take a fair few disks, but just manageable. CDs would certainly beat floppies. When DVD writers mature (and get to be a reasonable price) they will probably be the answer. The problem with most of the small cheap tape systems is that they push the recording density to ridiculous levels. Industry standard 9 track tape was reliable at 1600 bpi, (and '6250 bpi' was actually achieved by GCR) , yet these little cartridges are running at 15000 bpi, with nothing like the quality of the drives.