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Which backup drive should we buy: LTO, DDS or DLT?

My company is planning to purchase a tape drive for backup. However, there seem to be three different standards: LTO, DDS and DLT. I understand that DDS is one of the older generations, and that LTO more or less has better storage and higher performance. Which would you recommend?

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Without knowing how much data you need to back up, it would difficult to recommend a solution for you. But let's talk about what we do know about the formats you're looking at. Unfortunately, DDS hasn't really done much in terms of growth since the DDS-4 series, and I haven't heard if there will be anything else from that direction, so I would likely steer clear of that avenue. DLT has the potential (with compression) of storing up to 80 GB of data on a single tape, SDLT (Super-DLT) now has the compressed capacity of up to 600GB, and LTO-3 comes in at an impressive compressed capacity of 800 GB. Also, DLT/SDLT/LTO have the speed that is required to get the large amounts of data backed up in a timely fashion. If you aren't looking at libraries, then I wouldn't consider going with a solution that requires more than one tape to store the data I need to back up. Backups tend not to complete when a second tape is required to complete the task, and nobody is available to swap media. As far as recommending one of the formats you mentioned above, I would say that either of the DLT/SDLT/LTO would be a good direction to look in, and then fine-tune based upon your speed/capacity needs.

Read Pierre Dorion's answer to this question.

This was first published in February 2005

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