After a few weeks of email exchanges about backup strategies with the “Ever Handsome” Larry Jordan, he invited me on the Digital Production Buzz to talk about my experience with the Quantum A-Series LTO backup drive. If you don’t normally listen to the show, below is an excerpt of my interview with him. If you would like to become a regular listener, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes. The show airs weekly and you can’t help but learn something new with each new episode.
Archival of editing projects and tapeless camera originals is a hot topic these days, with opinions flying everywhere. Today’s post covers our experiences with both hard drives and the new A-Series LTO drive from Quantum.
In early 2008, we decided to switch to LTO tapes for all of our long term archiving. We previously used external IDE drives (well, internal drives put in cases to make them external) for our backups. They work decently for at least a while. The problem was, it got to the point that we had to use Chronosync, a file synchronizing software, to bring back any element from a project because digital hits would appear in the video files due to bad data blocks copying over from the drives back onto our system.
About 2 years ago we decided that we wanted to start taking steps to move toward a shared network of storage. But when you look at what it costs to do everything at once, it is just outrageously expensive for a small post house like Edit Creations. So, we decided to break it down into smaller purchases that over time would reach our goal.
Step one, we purchased the newly released (at the time, early 2007) G-Speed XL, 8TB, 16 drive 4 Gbit Fibre system, a new ATTO Celerity FC-42ES Fibre card, and a new Quad MacPro to hook it all into. The result was a super fast edit system that could handle anything we threw at it.
Here we are just over a year later, and faced with almost all of our jobs going to HD (Mostly the Panasonic DVCProHD format) and continuously running out of drive space, we decided to buy a second unit. We went with another G-Speed based on our great experience, but this time bought a 12TB system. Once formatted you have about 10TB of usable space. We purchased another ATTO card, ran about 50′ of new fibre and were ready to receive the drive!
One thing I didn’t do the first time was take “un-boxing” photos. This time, I remembered. I know it’s a bit geeky, but the video geek in you will enjoy it.
So now we have two dedicated RAID system, and two rooms that can handle all of the HD jobs coming up. What’s the next step? A fibre switch, management software, and a media controller computer. Not this year though, that sounds like a nice 2009 upgrade.