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tzmljm

Large capacity HDD question

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Hi Kevin -

What is your thoughts about this question?

I need offload about 50 to 100TB of data from our RAIDs and store onto single disks for long term storage on and off site. So I will be making 2 drives.   They may be stored for 10+ years and rarely accessed or could be powered up once a year for specific data retrieval.

I'm concerned about Helium based drives like Seagate IronWolf 10TB or HGST and whether the Helium could escape. Obviously nobody knows that answer as Helium based hasn't been around that long.

Am I better off going with HGST NAS 8TB drives which I believe don't use Helium and may be one of the last air based large size PMR drives? I prefer to use PMR vs SMR. 

Note we do back up to LTO tape as a fall back. But more likely I'll have hardware 10+ years from now that can read drives vs our current LTO-5's.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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Well, we know helium isn't escaping or else the return rates would be massive. Sealed drives are not new, they've been working with the technology for decades. That said, I'm not sure I would use HDDs as long term archival. You have tape, so I suppose I'm not all that worried about your use case, but in general I don't love single drive backup plans.

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As someone that specializes a lot in data protection and archive solutions in all sizes of company, while technically feasible, this is a very bad idea, with a lot of risk in storing this data in this manner as described.

Tape would be an acceptable solution, as long as you wrote it to two copies of tapes.  Then in 5yrs or so look at replacing your tape solution for a newer one.  LTO is backwards compatible 2 versions back to read.  e.g. LTO7 can read LTO5, and write to LTO6.  So you may need to upgrade to LTO7 soon, to read those LTO5 tapes.  Then in 5 or so years, go to LTO9, to be able to read LTO7 tapes.  With a couple of tape migration projects inbetween.  Or you have an enterprise tape library that can run multiple types of tape drives.

Another solution, would be to stick that data in the cloud, and keep it in two sites, or two providers.  Like a copy in Amazon and/or azure.  Amazon Glacier would be about $400-500/month in today's prices for 100TB. Their snowball can help you get the data into their cloud quick.  Pricing should go down over time as scale and economics work in our favor.  I suggest two vendors, because who knows how this new fangled "cloud," will shake up, and who wins and loses over the next decade.

If you are deadset on using hard drives, make multiple copies, and I'd probably do it across two different brands of drives.

 

When talking 10yrs of retention, the media type is very important, for compatibility sakes, and ease of accessing said data.  But just as important is the environment, that this media is stored (humidity, temp, etc).  Best to look at an Iron Mountain or similar to store these.  Which by the way, I'm sure Iron Mountain offers some sort of storage platform, and long term archival solution too.

 

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Thanks for your thoughts Mitch.  Though neither of your solutions work for us.  We are currently using LTO-5 which we keep all the tapes and never erase. At some point we will jump to LTO-7 but our library can't handle it so the expense will have to wait. Regardless, the speed to retrieve files takes time. These are mostly video projects so when a client asks to retrieve something we just pull out the hard drive, the user selects what they want and quickly offloads it.

I've been down the tape route before with SAIT some years ago. Unless you do like you mentioned above, keeping within 2 generations, then you run into compatibility problems in either hardware, software or both.  But even worse I never figured Sony would have killed off the format. Thankfully I kept the old drive in good shape so I can still pull from it if needed but I have to reconfigure to make it work.

Cloud is just too slow and expensive. Enough said. 

I think I'll go with your suggestion and buy drives from two different makers. I've had some discussions with tech support lately and if I fire them up every 6 months or so to keep the lubricants in motion I should be in good shape, provided humidity and temp remain constant.

I still don't trust Helium drives long term.  I'll go with traditional air-based for now.

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