DAT drive recommendations?


J

Jonathan Sachs

I have an HP DD3 DAT drive which is failing, and I'm probably going to have
to replace it.

I have owned three HP drives in a row. Up to now I have been very happy with
them, but this experience makes me think that I should at least consider
other brands this time. I'm looking for recommendations -- with a strong
preference for people who own or use what they are recommending.

Since prices have dropped since my last purchase, I'm probably going to
upgrade to DDS4. Reliability is my #1 criterion... price and performance #2
and #3.

The application is backup for a personal workstation with a 120GB hard disk
running Windows XP.
 
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P

Peter

Windows XP personal workstation with 120GB hard disk?
Why tape? You did not mention huge data backup requirements or multiple
offsite storage need.
I would recommend an external USB 2.0 hard disk as a backup.
It is reliable, cheaper and better performing than DDS4 tape drive.
 
J

Jonathan Sachs

Peter said:
Windows XP personal workstation with 120GB hard disk?
Why tape?
I have debated tape versus disk (versus CDR versus everything else
imaginable) on USENET a number of times. I would rather not get into that
again.

Let's leave it at this: I have heard all of the arguments in favor of other
backup media, and they have not persuaded me that that any other solution
would be better than tape -- for me. I have presented all of the arguments
in favor of tape, and I do not think I have persuaded anyone else that tape
is the best solution for them. I am content to let other people do want they
consider best, and would like to continue doing what I consider best.
 
R

Rita Ä Berkowitz

I have debated tape versus disk (versus CDR versus everything else
imaginable) on USENET a number of times. I would rather not get into that
again.

Let's leave it at this: I have heard all of the arguments in favor of
other
backup media, and they have not persuaded me that that any other solution
would be better than tape -- for me. I have presented all of the arguments
in favor of tape, and I do not think I have persuaded anyone else that
tape
is the best solution for them. I am content to let other people do want
they
consider best, and would like to continue doing what I consider best.
Backing up to tape is definitely the easiest and most cost effective way to
back up your data. It's when you have to do a restore is when you really
find out how reliable your tape backup really is or not. I have seen too
many times were people religiously do their tape backups and are in total
bliss till they have to do a restore, which fails a good portion of the
time. Tape is not as reliable as one would want to believe. Plus, for the
home user using DDS3 or DDS4 will find them numbing slow compared to using
an external SCSI or USB drive solely for system backups.



Rita
 
J

Jonathan Sachs

Backing up to tape is definitely the easiest and most cost effective way to
back up your data. It's when you have to do a restore is when you really
find out how reliable your tape backup really is or not. I have seen too
many times...
I really, really, really don't want to revisit this debate. I want to get on
with the task of replacing my failing drive with the benefit of as much
relevant information as others are willing to share.

To repeat the original inquiry, in case it has gotten lost: I am seeking
advice on which DDS4 DAT drive to buy to replace an HP DDS3 drive that is
failing, with reliability the primary consideration, cost and performance
secondary.
 
R

Rita Ä Berkowitz

I really, really, really don't want to revisit this debate. I want to get
on
with the task of replacing my failing drive with the benefit of as much
relevant information as others are willing to share.
I can relate to your sentiments on this.
To repeat the original inquiry, in case it has gotten lost: I am seeking
advice on which DDS4 DAT drive to buy to replace an HP DDS3 drive that is
failing, with reliability the primary consideration, cost and performance
secondary.
My recommendations would be a Sony SDT-11000. This is an external SCSI unit
that will give you the most reliability for the buck. As a cautionary note
if you must use tape, backup and compare often. Also, rotate tapes on a
regular basis and don't be afraid to trash tapes that you feel you might be
able to get a few extra miles from. Good luck.


Rita
 
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R

Rita Ä Berkowitz

To repeat the original inquiry, in case it has gotten lost: I am seeking
advice on which DDS4 DAT drive to buy to replace an HP DDS3 drive that is
failing, with reliability the primary consideration, cost and performance
secondary.
Sorry, I forgot to add to my previous post that it would probably be worth
your while to take the cover off the old HP unit and blow with compressed
air then swab the head and capstan with an alcohol dipped cotton swab. The
head cleaning tapes are mediocre at best. Nothing beats a good manual
cleaning.


Rita
 
J

Jonathan Sachs

My recommendations would be a Sony SDT-11000. This is an external SCSI unit
that will give you the most reliability for the buck.
Thanks for the input. I hope to get a consensus out of many opinions, but a
sample of one is infinitely better than a sample of zero!
As a cautionary note
if you must use tape, backup and compare often.
I do. In fact, constant retries in the verify step are the only evidence I
have so far that the drive is failing.
Also, rotate tapes on a regular basis...
I do that as well.
...and don't be afraid to trash tapes that you feel you might be able to
get a few extra miles from.

I would do that if the situation came up, but it never has. In nearly 15
years of using various types of DAT, I have never had a tape fail or give
evidence of impending failure. (This is one of my reasons for preferring
tape. I have had two hard disks failed in that time -- one catastrophically,
with no warning -- and any number of CDR's that wrote and tested fine but
later proved to be unreadable.)

The idea of opening up the drive and physically cleaning the heads is one I
had not considered. It sounds worth a try, although it's not something I'd
try while I consider the drive usable at all. The drive itself is a sealed
unit, and I have no idea how openable it is.
 
R

Rita Ä Berkowitz

Thanks for the input. I hope to get a consensus out of many opinions, but
a
sample of one is infinitely better than a sample of zero!
Anytime. In reality you only have Seagate as your only alternative and
really could not go wrong with either one. That HP unit you have most
likely
has a Seagate inside.

Oh, I made a typo on the model, which should read Sony SDT-D11000
I do. In fact, constant retries in the verify step are the only evidence I
have so far that the drive is failing.
Or a tape getting a bit finicky? Borrow another drive and try the tape in
it.

I do that as well.
Great.

get a few extra miles from.

I would do that if the situation came up, but it never has. In nearly 15
years of using various types of DAT, I have never had a tape fail or give
evidence of impending failure. (This is one of my reasons for preferring
tape. I have had two hard disks failed in that time -- one
catastrophically,
with no warning -- and any number of CDR's that wrote and tested fine but
later proved to be unreadable.)
I don't doubt you in the least, but this is pretty much what I hear when
someone comes in asking for help or a new tape drive. They don't usually
get to this point until they do a full blown disaster recovery. If you
really want to be 110% sure you could do a full disaster recovery by
temporarily replacing your HD in your computer and give it a whirl. You
might be amazed of your results
The idea of opening up the drive and physically cleaning the heads is one
I
had not considered. It sounds worth a try, although it's not something I'd
try while I consider the drive usable at all. The drive itself is a sealed
unit, and I have no idea how openable it is.
Personally, I would open the unit up and make an attempt to salvage the DDS3
since your requirements don't require speed. The head on that unit is
really rugged and I doubt it is worn out even if you got the unit second
hand. Of course you could have other issues with the drive, but that is the
easiest and cheapest area to check first.

As for getting into the unit, you can try a couple of things. I'm assuming
its an external SCSI case? If this is the case, you will need to slide the
main frame out from the back of the case. Lightly prying the plastic up in
the rear and looking for the four plastic catches usually do this. Some
models may have at least one setscrew under the rubber feet.

Once this is done you will have the unit exposed and ready to remove the
whole assembly from the external case frame.

Next remove the four screws holding the two side rails from the tape unit.
(This is the point were the tape unit can be installed in a standard 5.25"
bay) faceplate color optional and easily found online.

After removing the side rails you will need a small Phillips to remove the
screws holding the top cover to expose the head and other mechanism.

Clean and inspect prior to assembling in reverse order. Good luck.



Rita
 
J

Jonathan Sachs

Or a tape getting a bit finicky? Borrow another drive and try the tape in
it.
No, not that. I have the same problem with every tape I use -- at least a
half-dozen in the course of normal operations since this started, plus
others while trying to diagnose the problem.
I don't doubt you in the least, but this is pretty much what I hear when
someone comes in asking for help or a new tape drive. They don't usually
get to this point until they do a full blown disaster recovery. If you
really want to be 110% sure you could do a full disaster recovery by
temporarily replacing your HD in your computer and give it a whirl. You
might be amazed of your results
I admit that the prospect of disaster recovery sometimes gives me the
willies, but in my saner moments I don't think I have serious cause for
concern. The verification step (when it is working properly) confirms that
each tape is OK. Add to that the fact that I keep a year of monthly full
backups (!) plus intermediate differential backups, so if one tape does go
bad I can drop back a month. And the fact that I run selective restores
several times a year and have never had one fail. And the fact that I
actually had to do a full disaster recovery once, and it worked without a
hitch. And the fact that I use essentially the same process to migrate my
data each time I change machines (most recently this past June), and that
also has always worked without a hitch.
 
R

Rita Ä Berkowitz

No, not that. I have the same problem with every tape I use -- at least a
half-dozen in the course of normal operations since this started, plus
others while trying to diagnose the problem.
Yep, I think you narrowed it down.
I admit that the prospect of disaster recovery sometimes gives me the
willies, but in my saner moments I don't think I have serious cause for
concern. The verification step (when it is working properly) confirms that
each tape is OK. Add to that the fact that I keep a year of monthly full
backups (!) plus intermediate differential backups, so if one tape does go
bad I can drop back a month. And the fact that I run selective restores
several times a year and have never had one fail. And the fact that I
actually had to do a full disaster recovery once, and it worked without a
hitch. And the fact that I use essentially the same process to migrate my
data each time I change machines (most recently this past June), and that
also has always worked without a hitch.
I'm glad to see that you have been through it and did a full recovery
without a hitch. This way you have a good understanding of what to expect.
At least you are savvy enough to keep a good many copies on hand and have a
contingency plan. Dropping back a month isn't so bad, but can be a real
pain in the butt when you consider all your sales information and templates
you'll have to redo for that month.

Let me know if you get the DDS3 working properly or just bite the bullet and
get a new DDS4. Good luck and take care.



Rita
 
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R

Ron Reaugh

Jonathan Sachs said:
I have an HP DD3 DAT drive which is failing, and I'm probably going to have
to replace it.

I have owned three HP drives in a row. Up to now I have been very happy with
them, but this experience makes me think that I should at least consider
other brands this time. I'm looking for recommendations -- with a strong
preference for people who own or use what they are recommending.
I've tried the HP which is awful and the Seagate which is little better.
Avoid DAT. There is no such thing as a good tape drive unless you want to
spend more than $1000.

Use big ATA HDs in removable trays for backup.
Since prices have dropped since my last purchase, I'm probably going to
upgrade to DDS4. Reliability is my #1 criterion... price and performance #2
and #3.

The application is backup for a personal workstation with a 120GB hard disk
running Windows XP.
Use a HD or two in removable trays.
 
R

Ron Reaugh

Jonathan Sachs said:
I really, really, really don't want to revisit this debate.
Well we really, really, really don't want you posting here anything that
might imply your position on the issue is reasonable.
I want to get on
with the task of replacing my failing drive with the benefit of as much
relevant information as others are willing to share.

To repeat the original inquiry, in case it has gotten lost: I am seeking
advice on which DDS4 DAT drive to buy to replace an HP DDS3 drive that is
failing, with reliability the primary consideration, cost and performance
secondary.
You want somebody to say that one is good when there are no good ones.
 
R

Ron Reaugh

Rita Ä Berkowitz said:
I can relate to your sentiments on this.


My recommendations would be a Sony SDT-11000.
$400 for 20GB native and $10 per tape....nightmare.
 
R

Ron Reaugh

Rita Ä Berkowitz said:
Anytime. In reality you only have Seagate as your only alternative and
really could not go wrong with either one. That HP unit you have most
likely
has a Seagate inside.

Oh, I made a typo on the model, which should read Sony SDT-D11000
Oh, that's $700....elm street.
 
R

Ron Reaugh

Jonathan Sachs said:
No, not that. I have the same problem with every tape I use -- at least a
half-dozen in the course of normal operations since this started, plus
others while trying to diagnose the problem.
Is a synonym for tape drive "diagnose the problem"?
 
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R

Rita Ä Berkowitz

$400 for 20GB native and $10 per tape....nightmare.
Probably so, but he stated that this is what he wanted earlier on in the
thread. Personally, I don't and won't use tape, even AIT. For me, I find
that a few good old Seagate 146 GB ST3146807LC U320 drives in the drive
carriers make for dirt-cheap backup. Speed and reliability is where it's
at.



Rita
 
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P

Peter

Fine. You want to use DDS4 tape (20GB native capacity) to back up your 120GB
hard drive. That, in general, means attended backup. Considering speed of
DDS4 tape drive (with verification), you are a patient man.
 

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