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also: SSDs are expensive for backup. does anyone have experience backing up on tape, for a desktop system?

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@tindall In my experience tape is always convoluted and not worth it.

I back up on regular HDD's.

@rune @tindall I'm using RDX for backups, which is basically spinning disks in a ruggedised cartridge. For tape, you pay for the drive and tapes are cheap. For RDX you pay for the cartridges but the drive is cheap. Tape is cheap at scale, but not for smaller stuff.

@rune seems sensible. what's the mtbf like for offline drives? if i leave a drive on a shelf for three years is it going to power on when i need it?

@tindall I'm not really sure but I think the only way to keep data readable for a long time is to keep it online and continuously read/verify/write it.

It's a hassle, but there's just a lot of ways offline storage can break silently. At least online replicas report failure so you can manage it.

@rune @tindall I've used tape, and I don't find it convoluted. It's quite easy to use, and tapes are very reliable.

However, if you have a lot of data to back up, it can get expansive. I see 6 TB tapes on Ebay for 350 USD used.

@tindall Instead of backups I keep a RAID of normal HDDs over NFS. I just move everything that I don't want to loose there.

NFS does not support xattrs afaik. I'm curious, why do you need to keep the xattrs?

@istar_eldritch that seems like a pretty fragile setup - i RAID my working drives but for backups... there's so much that can go wrong.

I want to use xattrs for tagging. Maybe if I do backups of tarballs? But that's kind of a secondary concern.

@jmtd @tindall
Actually I do need a cold storage solution. I just didn't put the time on it yet. :/.
Tape drives seems really expensive and the technology quite proprietary, I'm afraid of it being obsolete and not being able to read the tapes in 10 years.

@istar_eldritch @tindall my “cold storage” is 2 offsite HDDs, one per month gets brought in, resynced, then sent away again. Affordable, and you detect media failure pretty fast

@tindall My personal backup routine is fully automated, encrypted backups to Backblaze B2 storage and every now and then, usually 3-4 times a year, making an offline backup on an external drive. That works quite well and even if either the drive or the online backup fail, it ends up being fine. And by using the same disk every 3-4 months, you don't end up with a situation where things failed entirely.

Tape backups are just too expensive. Not the tape itself, but the drives…

@penguin42 @tindall @loke what is the current standard of tape cartridges? Last time I have used tapes it was DDS-2/3 era

@tindall I haven't backed up my desktop systems since the mid 1990s; either data lives on a server, or it's tmp/scratch and can be blown away.

It's incredibly freeing to work this way; but it does require you to either rely on cloud services or have unusual access to a server when travelling.

@yojimbo @tindall similar situation. If it is worth keeping, it's online. Because most people do complicated backups, but fail a simple but necessary step: regular _recovery_ checks. Otherwise you end up with terabytes of encrypted crap.

The only thing I'm thinking about backing up additionally are family photos and vids. But maybe better to just print out the important ones...

@tindall Tape's strength is in multiple versioned backups over time.

As noted: the drives are expensive, the media is cheap.

You also sacrifice a great deal of flexibility.

2-3 backup systems, one preferably incrementally updated remotely (git and rsync are incredible tools) buy you most of what tape gives.

One thing tape affords that disk storage doesn't is that since the media themselves are offline, it's very difficult for either accidents or malice to destroy both your primary data and backup(s).

No matter how large media sizes, they're always too small.

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