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The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data

COW Library : Art of the Edit : Walter Biscardi : The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
CreativeCOW presents The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data -- Art of the Edit Editorial


Biscardi Creative Media
Buford Georgia USA
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


In this digital media world, it's imperative to not only have enough media array space to do your work, but also to store and protect that media for the long term. We've been using a very simple method going on four years now and in response to a question I actually got today, here's how it works.

We store everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on bare hard drives. Yes, I know what you're saying. "Walt, hard drives die!" Yes, they absolutely 100% do. That's why everything is stored on both a Master and Clone with the clones stored off-site. When either the Master or Clone dies, we purchase a new drive and make a brand new Clone.

Organization: First off, every drive gets assigned a 7 digit number by our Media Management Specialist such as 0002372. Why 7 digits? So we can store up to 9,999,999 items before we run out of numbers. This applies to ALL media that's stored in our library including Tape, DVD, Blu-Ray, CD, Hard Drives and anything else that goes into the library. It's all managed through a VERY simple Filemaker Pro database we started about 6 years ago and it still works quite well. We tried using CatDV for a while, but it was just too confusing and cumbersome so we switched back to Filemaker and have kept running it since. Kelly can pretty much find anything in the shop within 5 minutes so it's still working well for us. Moving forward, the next thing we will test out is Axle as soon as we get our new series rolling which will be reality series style so it will involve a LOT of media per episode.

Storage Unit: We've been running "Tray Less" drives from WeibeTech for all four years we've been doing this system. That company was purchased by CRU-Dataport a few years ago, but the units still remain. You can get 1, 2, 4 and 8 bay units. Here's a picture of the RTX410-3QJ which is essentially the latest version of the 4 bay models we run in the shop and we also run a couple of the single drive units. This is a JBOD unit with four individual connections for the four drive trays running standard SATA drives. What this means is that all four drives will show up as individual units instead of the entire box showing up as a "RAID." So we can copy data to two Masters and two Clones simultaneously if we want. And you don't have to use all four slots to use the unit. 1, 2, 3 or all slots can be used at any given time.



The "Tray Less" designation means the drives literally slip in and out of the drive bays like the old floppy disks. Open the front door, slide the drive in, close the door and start your data transfer.

We have these connected to a Mac and we manually control all data transfer. So our Media Management specialist will load the appropriate drive, confirm the data that needs to be archived off our server and manually drag it onto the drive for the transfer. Then she'll copy from Master to Clone and then the Clone will go off site.

We reverse the process to put the data back onto the server. It's VERY simple and VERY low tech.

I've sent these units out into the field and when we get the series, this will be how we'll transfer, clone and ship media from the field. The master footage will be copied from the Camera cards to three drives simultaneously in the RTX unit. Drives 1 and 2 will be the Master and Clone with Drive 3 the Backup Clone. Drives 1 and 2 will stay with the Production Team until they return to Atlanta while the Backup Clone will be shipped back to Atlanta at the end of each production day.

Since this unit uses off the shelf SATA drives with nothing proprietary we can pick up additional hard drives pretty much anywhere on our travels around the US and around the world as needed or just have drives overnighted to wherever our crews are.

Hard Drives: We tend to purchase Western Digital and Hitatchi drives as they are generally the most plentiful around and have the best price vs. performance. Remember we don't need top speed / top performance because we're not editing with these drives, just storing them on the shelf. We purchase from a myriad of locations such as TapeOnline.com, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy even Staples on occasion when they have a sale. So far the largest drive we've purchased is a 3TB model, but we tend to stick to 2TB as they seem to be just the right size to hold most of our projects. The price point has also drastically dropped for the 2TB so they're a good buy for the size.

Storing the Media: WeibeTech, now CRU Dataport also sells the "Drivebox" which is an antistatic box to store the bare drives. Literally looks like small VHS box and the drives store very securely in these boxes which take up very little room.



You can see below the DriveBoxes sitting on IKEA Benno DVD towers. I like these units because they're very compact footprints with very short shelves that don't sag under the weight of the drives. We can store 40 drives on a single Benno unit so with 2TB drives, that's 80TB of backup data in a very small footprint. Considering it takes about 4 of these units side by side to equal a "normal" bookshelf, that's 320TB in a nice compact footprint. The taller boxes are the original version of the DriveBox, they've gotten shorter in the last two years. We make sure to spin up all the drives every four months minimum to make sure the drives are ok. If any shows any sort of falter, we replace it immediately.




Fail Safe Storage: Now if you want to go all out "Fail Safe" secure backup, then you start looking into LTO units which are just on the transition phase from LTO-5 to LTO-6. The plus side is that the tapes are guaranteed to last for 50 years. Yes, I said tape, still the most stable thing to put on a shelf. The downside is they only hold 1.5TB maximum for media. Yes you can store 3TB of compressed data, but you should never compress video data. The storage units themselves generally start around $2000 and quickly go up from there. I've been considering a switch to LTO because the LTO-5 tapes are only $33 per 1.5TB. BUT most LTO units are proprietary per manufacturer so once I commit to a manufacturer, then I'm stuck with them for a while, unlike these bare hard drives which I can put into any SATA drive unit and a Mac or PC will read them. That is changing now with LTO-6 and LTFS to write to, but it's still on the "bleeding edge" for me so for the time being, we continue to go with the hard drives.

I expect that by mid 2014 we will begin transitioning over to LTO for long term off site archive storage and continue using hard drives as on site archive storage. In fact, an LTO solution will probably be my main focus at the NAB show in April 2014.

There you go, a quick look at how we've been archiving our data at BCM for about 4 or 5 years now and it's worked quite well for everything we've been doing including the documentaries, episodics and corporate projects.

Comments

Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Bob Cole
Walter: just wondering whether you could update this article.

Bob C
+1
@Bob Cole
by walter biscardi
Nothing to update with. I thought we would have been on LTO by now, but we're still doing this exact same method for the time being.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by drazen stader
Walter hellou,

great topic...great article...we are also looking for deep storage solution...did you find any good LTO-6 recorder solutions on? what would you recommend buying for the recorder unit? what is your opinion on the new sony unit ODS-D77U Optical Disc Archive ? thank you very much for the input....

drazen
@drazen stader
by Jonas Bendsen
It was interesting to see the information on the new Sony Archival Media come out the week after I saw this thread (and posted). The new Sony media ahould be around the same price per TB in regard to "tapes," but the media for the Sony will be more expensive because it will hold so much more (current LTO tapes hold around 2.5TB while the Sony Media will hold 185TB). I would assume the "decks" are going to be even more expensive than LTO. And even though it's very new tech, it's still magnetic.

:::::::::::::::::::::
This is my life, I edit and edit and edit and edit...

http://TeahmBeahm.com
http://Digabyte.com
@Jonas Bendsen - Sony super-capacity message
by Tim Jones
Hi Jonas,

Please view this post for more "real" information on the Sony announcement:

Sony High Density Tape Announcement Making a mess of the press!

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by drazen stader
Hellou,

has anyone made any comparison - price performance - between the new existent sony system called optical disc archive ODS-D77U and the HP StoreEver LTO-6 Ultrium 6650 External Tape Drive...as far as I see the sony system is more expensive, but faster, and offers read-write options...it allows faster access to the archived data and this way completely eliminates the need for additional disk archiving....on the other hand LT0-6 is a bit cheaper, offers cartridges with higher data storage capacity, but is slower and can be wirtten only once...anyone has any thoughts on this to share?

Drazen
@drazen stader
by Tim Jones
Sony Pros:
  • The Sony drive speed claim is ~20% faster than LTO-6
  • The Sony drive is available with a USB-3 interface
  • Media is UDF format and can be indexed by any disk management app

Sony Cons:
  • The Sony ODSD55U is over $2,000 more than an LTO-6 drive (the ODSD77U is $4,200 more)
  • The 1.2TB rewritable media is $230± compared to 2.5TB LTO-6 media at $72
  • The USB-3 interface may not be able to maintain the I/O bandwidth required to see the enhanced throughput promised

I personally like what Sony is doing with the unit, but the per-TB pricing is way out of whack. When we start looking at archiving a 57TB feature, our media costs just skyrocketed from ~$1,600 for 22 LTO-6 2.5TB tapes to $10,925 for the 48, 1.2TB ODS media cartridges required. Is the potential for a possible 20% time saving worth the price delta of ~$9,350? For that delta, you could buy 2 more LTO-6 drives, divide your data into 3 chunks and write them simultaneously totally getting rid of any speed difference with the aggregate LTO-6 performance being much faster.

Additionally, a 24 slot LTO-6 tape library costs around $8,000 (inducing the tape drive) and would allow us to automate the entire 57TB operation while the Sony ODSL10 solution is $16,100 plus the drive cost (~$23,000 for the 55U) and would require a lot of manual disk changes or your price jumps by an even larger margin because of requiring multiple ODSL10 library units with the additional ODS drives needed for each 10 cartridge section to provide automated loading of the required 48 optical cartridges.

My data is from the Sony ODS site and various reseller sites.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by Tim Jones
Oh, and LTO-6 tapes are rewritable 1,000's of times. Only the WORM tapes are not rewritable.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by drazen stader
Tim hellou,

first of all...thank you very very much for such an accurate pro and cons comparison list...this is exactly as I thought...sony has developed a sexy product however when you put it on paper and compare to LTO-6 it just doesn't offer the best bang for the buck...since I am a total novice in terms of LTO-6 systems....could you recommend which one to buy...I see the price range for the LTO-6 is quite wide..it goes from 4.500 USD for the HP-LTO6 desktop model down to 2.500 usd for Quantum’s LTO-6...what are the main specs to take into consideration when shopping for LTO-6...speed, compatibility, future road map, warranty??

Drazen
@drazen stader
by walter biscardi
We'll be testing the new M-Logic LTO-6 system shortly with the Imagine Products Pre,Roll, Post product.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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+1
@walter biscardi
by drazen stader
Walter hellou,

what would be a reasonable price for a good price performance LTO-6 drive unit? I am inclined always to pay a bit more for a quality product that would go further down in the road...shall I put this way I am more of an aja type than a blackmagic...so in that terms...what would you say would be a normal budget...and which would the 3 brands to go to?

Drazen
@drazen stader
by Tim Jones
Hi Drazen,

First, all of the LTO-6 units out there have the exact same performance figures. While we've seen a higher extreme use bit error rate with IBM drives over the others (even though the difference is not something that a user would see in average use), the life expectancy of all of the brands is about even. Therefore, the most important thing that you need to pay attention to is what you are getting for the money that you spend? I can't speak to the other vendors, but with our ArGest Desktop Cube LTO-6 unit ($4,499), you get everything that you need in a single offering as well as a support team that understands your Mac OS X environment and the tools that you are using daily (FCP X, PP/AE, MC, etc.).

We include the ATTO ExpressSAS H680 HBA that you need for connectivity, the SAS cable, media, cleaning cartridge, BRU PE or BRU Server M&E software, and a 3 year warranty. If you need Thunderbolt connectivity, we can add the proper Sonnet solution to support your exact needs. And, you only have 1 phone number to call with questions or workflow help.

Remember 2 very important parts of this -
  • ONLY the ATTO ExpressSAS HBA's properly support tape on the Mac, so if you're not getting an ATTO HBA from the other vendor, you'll need to add ~$300 to their price.
  • And, does the company understand how to support you if you have questions about tape and your workflow?

However, if you do go with a generic Quantum, IBM, HP or Tandberg/Overland unit, all of our BRU solutions will also properly support them.

I also see that Walter mentions the mLogic unit - that is an IBM drive in a Thunderbolt to SAS chassis (meaning the drive technology is the same as any other IBM-based LTO-6 solution. That means that it should be compatible with just about any tape solution that you choose.

HTH,

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@walter biscardi
by drazen stader
Walter hellou one more time,

I have just checkd the m-logic LTO-6 thunderbolt based system...looks very very promising...I am already looking forward for your review of this system...this just might hit the sweet spot!

Drazen
@walter biscardi
by drazen stader
Walter hellou,

how happy are you with the M-Logic LTO-6 unit? Are you maybe planing to write a review of that unit? I am still looking into investing into one lto tape system but love to hear an expert opinion on this mlogic mtape unit...did you had the chance to test it? please write your opinion..I have been browsing the web but couldn't find anything meaningful about this unit...thanks...best regard

Drazen
@drazen stader
by walter biscardi
Hi Drazen,

I still have not received the unit. Not sure what's going on. It's been promised for the past two months but nothing has shown up. At this point, not even getting any responses to emails to M-Logic. Sorry.

Walter

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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@walter biscardi
by drazen stader
Walter hellou,

how happy are you with the M-Logic LTO-6 unit? Are you maybe planing to write a review of that unit? I am still looking into investing into one lto tape system but love to hear an expert opinion on this mlogic mtape unit...did you had the chance to test it? please write your opinion..I have been browsing the web but couldn't find anything meaningful about this unit...thanks...best regard

Drazen

Drazen
@Tim Jone
by Jonas Bendsen
That's where I got my most of my information (data density, method, etc.). What's the problem?

:::::::::::::::::::::
This is my life, I edit and edit and edit and edit...

http://TeahmBeahm.com
http://Digabyte.com
@Jonas Bendsen
by Tim Jones
It's important to keep in mind that this is not technology that we will see in a commercially available product for 4-5 or more years.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by Jonas Bendsen
Right, which is why I'm pushing Cloudbased deep-archival storage in conjunction with master/clone harddrive (until you are storing enough data to justify owning LTO).

And there will always be something better around the corner.

:::::::::::::::::::::
This is my life, I edit and edit and edit and edit...

http://TeahmBeahm.com
http://Digabyte.com
@Jonas Bendsen
by Tim Jones
Using your example of AWS Glacier, the pricing is so convoluted that I'd be afraid of using it for anything except deep archival of "dead" data where you had no plans of retrieving your data except in an extreme emergency.

Cloud-based archival is potentially even more expensive if you don't have amazing bandwidth. Even if you're only backing up a few 100's of GB, the time required to push the files up to a cloud server can be extreme. For example:

10Mb upload speed from TWC or Cox = 1MB/sec = 60MB/min = 3.6GB/hr = 500GB in almost 6 days assuming no other traffic on the link.

Whereas that same 500GB to LTO-5 is 504GB/hr, or slightly less than 1 hour and you have your data safe and local and the tape costs $30.

From where I sit, a single average commercial spot job justifies the cost of an LTO-5 drive. Many people don't take into account to time / personnel costs when they weigh the cost to value ratio of system hardware such as an LTO tape drive. Even if you spent 2 hours and made 2 copies of that 500GB and shipped one copy to your safe deposit box, you're still way ahead of cloud and you don't have to worry about network outages affecting your data availability.

Until we can get 100Mb or better bandwidth with a sub-$100/month cost, the cloud is going to be good for a home user's docs and pictures, but not good for our environments where a one day wedding shoot can run up 2TB+ of pre-edited footage.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by Jonas Bendsen
I agree. If you can afford LTO, it's still the way to go (because it's "now" and the most stable/long-range thing available). But for outfits on a tighter budget or with less "live" data, cloud is a good alternative for deep archival (emergency recovery only), and the master/clone is where your "accessible" archiving is happening. Your example of network outages isn't really applicable, because I would never be accessing that data from the cloud in a time crunch unless my master AND clone failed (also noting that getting something "down" is around 6x as fast as putting it up). Backups run at night (so there is no other data in the way) on a 12Mbps-up/60Mbps-down network (very affordable here in Denver).

In my workflow, the LTO would be purely "deep archival," as any recovery/access of data would happen from the clone hard drive (once the data leaves the active RAID array), so access speed is less of an issue. Sure, it'd be nice to access that archival data in a couple of hours instead of a couple of days, but (hopefully) it would never be necessary in a time critical situation. If the clone fails, you copy data from the master and the "deep archival" data is still "safe" in the cloud in case of catastrophe.

:::::::::::::::::::::
This is my life, I edit and edit and edit and edit...

http://TeahmBeahm.com
http://Digabyte.com
Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Jonas Bendsen
Great article and an EXTREMELY important topic.

After completing our first feature (around 12TB all told after delivering projection, distribution, etc.), I started looking at LTO to archive the project. No matter how I came at it (renting, pooling resources with other film makers, etc.), it just didn't seem cost effective (though it DID seem much more stable than any other option at our disposal).

Something that Mark Suszko started to touch on and I will second is the use of offline cloud storage for deep archive. Mark suggested that it's not here yet, but I think it pretty much is (and will only get better). Places like Amazon (s3/Glacier) are starting to offer cost effective "deep storage." As the name Glacier suggests, it's PAINFULLY slow, but that's what makes it feasible regarding cost. It's a great offsite third backup option, for archival purposes only. To reiterate, you CANNOT use it if you want to actively access a project, but it's a reasonable "failsafe" if you've got physical media backups as well.

As soon as we generate a projects' video/audio files, they are backed up to bare drives off-facility, placed on a back-up RAID, and placed on the editing RAID. Project files (which are relatively tiny) are mirrored to cloud storage in real time (we use MS OneDrive, but Google Drive and Dropbox would obviously work as well) and copied to the back up RAID weekly. When a project moves from "active" to "phasing out," the project files are added to the offsite drives.

While I'm talking about moving around files, I will mention that we don't simply drag/drop like a few others suggested. That's a pretty big gamble (you visit a copied file later only to find that it's corrupt). We're a Windows environment, so we use TeraCopy to transfer files. It runs a Check Sum verification on all files for a more reliable copy. So far (massive knock on wood), we haven't had any corruption from file transfer. We also use SyncBack Pro with the Check Sum option ticked to do all our back-ups.

We have several RAID units for back up of "active" projects, another larger RAID for projects "on the way out, or soft-archived" (not accessed every day, or even every week, but still easily accessible for when a client needs to make a minor change like Steve Kownacki mentioned), and then stuff that's a year or so old is moved completely off the RAIDs and double-drived (master/clone) --we haven't started implementing Glacier yet, but it will be in the workflow soon as a third option "fail safe." A lot of NAS units are including modules that make cloud archiving a fairly simple process with minimal set up necessary to start offloading data. Obviously there is a critical mass point where LTO might make more sense (as far as cost goes) for the deep archive stuff, but initially I think Cloud Based Deep Storage will be more cost effective.

We're a smaller outfit, and cost is a consideration at every turn... even the drive cases mentioned in the original article. We looked at those Weibe Tech "Beta Tape Cases" and found them cost prohibitive. We're using flip top cases from eBay. The Weibe cases are $8 a piece with exorbitant shipping vs. $3 a piece with shipping included for the flip tops. (here's a post on the topic from back in 2010)

:::::::::::::::::::::
This is my life, I edit and edit and edit and edit...

http://TeahmBeahm.com
http://Digabyte.com
@Jonas Bendsen
by walter biscardi
Thanks for the note. I'll be doing a follow-up article very shortly on the new LTO6 solution it looks like we'll be going with. Waiting on the unit to arrive so we can start testing.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Steve Kownacki
I moved from hard drives to LTO5 about 2 years ago and only 1 minor issue with a catalog that Tolis assisted me with; it's on the COW thread here. Have never lost any data. Yes, I have lost drives.

Just like video project file structure, you need to develop a plan for your archive naming - especially if you are putting multiple clients on a single tape library. How you name them, date them is critical for searching and the scenario described below. Some of my regular, monthly clients get their own tape sets.

Unlike drives, you cannot delete individual files from LTO, so once it's on there, it's there to stay.

Common situation: 10 gig project is archived, client needs to update a title. You restore the tape to your editing drives, make the changes. You can't simply add that single project file (maybe 500K) to the existing archive structure. You have to backup the project in whole again. Hence the need for great file/project management. I have had clients make 3-4 revisions, months apart, to a single project.

Steve



@The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Bob Cole
Hi Walter, all:

Has anyone used the DAT Optic eBOX-TeSU? It seems similar to the CRU RTX410-3QJ, except that it adds Thunderbolt.

Bob C
@Bob Cole
by walter biscardi
I have not honestly. Looking at CRU's website it looks like they only offer the Thunderbolt option on an 8bay tower. I'll have to reach out to them and see if they have any plans to bring T-Bolt to the rest of the lineup.

http://www.cru-inc.com/products/rtx/rtx800-tr/

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Southeast Creative Summit, Returning in 2014!
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Back @ Walter
by Mark Suszko
We have drives fail in months and drives that last 5 years or more. Each individual drive is different. If you are using drives they WILL fail. It's not a question of "if" but "when" because it WILL happen. That's why we spin them up every 3-4 months. If you don't spin them up regularly they die much faster.

LTO will definitely be in our workflow after April and NAB
. - WB

I'm not trolling, but Walter, that quote sure doesn't sell me on mechanically-driven storage as a long term secure system. If anything, it's a sales point for solid state flash-based memory or an optical medium of some sort. True, in both of those cases, you still need a device to access the media off the medium. But they both sound simpler yet more reliable than using a magnetic spinning disk at this point.

What sounds even more reliable yet would be a bigger version of cloud storage where the data is backed up not by one or two copies, but dozens, even hundreds, all located in separate places, on different media, and all matching against each other for parity. As if the web became a universal RAID 5.

I do believe we're getting there; not this year, but it is coming.

Why buy a storage mechanism that doesn't last as long as your car?
@Mark Suszko
by walter biscardi
Why buy a storage mechanism that doesn't last as long as your car?

Because when you're backing up 1-4 TB at a time for projects, they are the most cost effective means out there right now. Solid state for 600TB would be astronomical and I would not charge my clients for that. Optical is too small a format to handle that large of projects. A "small project" for us is usually 400GB of material to back up so we need to work with minimum 1TB data devices. We try to maximize the client's dollars by getting as many projects as possible onto a single device.

The fact that the devices do fail is why we run a clone and a Master of each drive. It's also why we spin them up at least every four months.

The point of this article was to show how I archive materials and we've been using this method going on four or five years now with the hard drives. You may not feel comfortable with the process, but this is an example of how we do it and it has worked very well for us all this time.

Now the next step will be to transition over to LTO for long term archive and mechanical drives for on-site, fast transfer archive.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Southeast Creative Summit, Returning in 2014!
Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Re: @Mark Suszko
by Sam Lee
>>
Now the next step will be to transition over to LTO for long term archive and mechanical drives for on-site, fast transfer archive.
<<<


I'd be very interested in what software solution you choose for short & long-term data archival. So far I'm torn between BRU PE & Pre Roll Post. I may have to use them both but prefer just one.
Re: Article: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Sam Lee
After a batch purchase of about 140 3 Tb HGST hdds back in 2011, I'm seeing about 8 HGST drives are showing bad sectors several weeks. This is not good after a mere 3 years of storage in climate controlled facility. Can't read the data during re-copy back in OSX Finder. Luckily I always have a twin and so far both of the same drives on the same set gone bad. But that doesn't mean that it will never occur. Therefore, LTO-6 is definitely something to consider now. HP MP LT0-6 media is about $68/tape. Just bought a huge batch earlier today. It was $100 six months ago. So the price is just about right per cartridge. Now I'm doing both hdd and LTO-6. Doing twin LTO-6 is also considered but gets expensive with the high volume that I do every month.
@Sam Lee
by walter biscardi
This is not good after a mere 3 years of storage in climate controlled facility.

That's why you always have a clone. We have drives fail in months and drives that last 5 years or more. Each individual drive is different. If you are using drives they WILL fail. It's not a question of "if" but "when" because it WILL happen. That's why we spin them up every 3-4 months. If you don't spin them up regularly they die much faster.

LTO will definitely be in our workflow after April and NAB.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media


Southeast Creative Summit, Returning in 2014!
Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

Blog Twitter Facebook
Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Timothy Barksdale
VEry curious about this thread. I rely on archiving tapes and have for decades. What do folks in this thread think about the idea of going from the SSD to an SR-2 tapes system?

I'd like to actually use "video" tape to archive on. Although i am "poor" I like to be able to pull my HDCam tapes off the shelves and insert into the decks and Voila.!

They are fast and beautiful. I am looking to develop a system not unlike what SONY created to work with the F-65. They too used a proprietary system to archive. I'm appalled by the cost of SSD cards and would like to stay on tape in the final archive. Perhaps I am missing the point of LTO but It looks to be very odd to me.

What are the drawbacks of designing a system based around a new MacPro and SRW-5800/2 and something to ingest the data from the cards?

Tim Barksdale
Birdman Productions LLC
Choteau, MT
MundoAveLoco!
Birdman Adventures LLC
Kansas City, MO
@The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Bob Cole
Excellent article, full of pragmatic advice from the real world. Well done, Walter. Ever since our LTO drive died, we've been using small external drives as an interim solution. I've been assuming that I would get an LTO5 drive (in part because it could read LTO3 tapes, of which we have many). Your article has inspired me to create a spreadsheet to test the cost per tb for an LTO system vs. bare drives. I am sure there are huge errors in my analysis, but it appears that bare hard drives have a lot to recommend them for all but the larger data requirements.

I made the following cost assumptions:
HP LTO5 external device: $2600
4-bay hard drive holder: $800
2tb hard drive: $100
1.5tb LTO cartridge: $36

To account for the higher reliability of LTO tape, I assumed using one LTO cartridge per backup, and two hard drives. I used a 3-year horizon, because that was how long our LTO3 drive lasted, and also because I believe that Mark S. is right that the technology is evolving rapidly.

Sample results:
10tb: LTO $1106; Hard drives $600.
20tb: LTO $1346; Hard drives $933.
50tb: LTO $2066; Hard drives $1933.
64tb: LTO $2402; Hard drives $2400.
100tb: LTO $3266; Hard drives $3600.
1000tb: LTO $24866; Hard drives $33,600.

Not included: time value of money (initial cost of LTO is 3x hard drive); storage sleeves for hard drives; greater speed of hard drive backups; (debatable) greater reliability of one LTO backup vs. 2 hard drive backups. If you include two LTO backups to allow for on-site and off-site storage, the results would skew even more in favor of hard drives. Plus, really.... who has the time to make 2 LTO backups?

Sadly... I have to get some kind of LTO drive just to read our existing LTO library.

Walter: How do you verify your copies? How do you simultaneously make the master and clone? Do you archive a project from day to day, or when it is "done"? If you archive daily, how do you deal with the fact that projects evolve from day to day? How do you avoid making too many copies of media, when it is associated with several projects?

Having enjoyed this article, I would like to know more about the nitty-gritty, day-to-day practices various other producers have adopted. Biscardi Creative Media's software solutions probably won't work for those of us who don't have a full-time data manager. I am guessing that most of us will need much more robust software to handle this process. Despite my frustrations with LTO archiving, at least it forced me to learn Retrospect, which was enlightening. Now we use CD Finder (NeoFinder) to catalog hard drives, and while it is excellent at what it does, it isn't nearly as robust as Retrospect, which can not only create catalogs and retrieve them, but also avoid backing up assets which have already been archived.

Again: excellent article, which leaves me wanting more.... Thanks!

Bob C
@Bob Cole
by walter biscardi
Walter: How do you verify your copies?

Very simply compare size of the original data and the size of the new data. We've not run any of that "check sum" software or anything like that. 4 years and no issues have occurred.

How do you simultaneously make the master and clone?

Those CRU Dataport trayless units are JBOD with individual connections for each of the drives in the unit. So drag the media to both a Master and a Clone drive at the same time. Kelly generally doesn't do it this way. Generally she'll dump everything to the master first and then put the clones in.

But she does copy materials to up to four Masters at a time and she does make 2 clones from 2 Masters simultaneously all the time. That's the beauty of these units have four individual connections. They're four individual drives on the computer so you can make multiple transfers simultaneously.

Do you archive a project from day to day, or when it is "done"?

The media for a project is only archived when it's done because we run RAID 5 on our system so the media is protected while we're editing. The Project file itself and always saved in two places each evening in the event of a computer breakdown we can retrieve the project file.

Biscardi Creative Media's software solutions probably won't work for those of us who don't have a full-time data manager. I am guessing that most of us will need much more robust software to handle this process.

I would spend the money on a person over software any day. We've had four different people manage the library over the past 5 years and it's so much better to have that point person if you can do it. This is not a high paying job and I've now found that bringing in an older person who is just looking for a job in an interesting field has worked out better than looking for younger folks who want to get a foot in the door. Kelly not only manages the library but runs errands, looks after clients and does a myriad of other jobs around the shop. Her attitude and professionalism has just been such a boost to the company I could not see running the company without someone like her.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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@walter biscardi
by Bob Cole
Very interesting. Thanks Walter, I appreciate the answers. And I love the shout-out for Kelly. I notice you aren't posting her direct-dial number...

Bob C
@Bob Cole
by Tim Jones
You said:
Sample results:
10tb: LTO $1106; Hard drives $600.
20tb: LTO $1346; Hard drives $933.
50tb: LTO $2066; Hard drives $1933.
64tb: LTO $2402; Hard drives $2400.
100tb: LTO $3266; Hard drives $3600.
1000tb: LTO $24866; Hard drives $33,600.

Bob - where did you come up with these numbers? Here's what real numbers look like:

10TB LTO-5 = $29 X 7 = $203
10TB LTO-6 = $71 x 4 = $276
10TB GOOD 2TB HDD = $1,160

Additionally, as you buy more LTO media, the per-tape price comes down.

You then asked:
Plus, really.... who has the time to make 2 LTO backups?

With BRU PE or BRU Server, 2 simultaneous copies are as simple as a mouse click.

Please don't try to add invalid FUD to this already confusing situation.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by Tim Jones
BTW - I do realize that the initial buy-in for an LTO drive is more expensive than a simple disk drive, but when amortized over more than a single backup / archival operation that cost is easily written down.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by Bob Cole
re your first post: As noted, the hard drive cost was, like the LTO device, amortized over 3 years. Actually, my LTO device lasted 3 years and my hard drives have on average lasted much longer. Also re your first post, please don't get personal ("FUD"). It's not nice. I'm only sharing because I want to advance the dialogue; I have nothing to gain from this exchange except more knowledge

As you surmised by the time of your second post, the numbers I used included the three-year amortization of an LTO drive. Your numbers are for the tape cartridge only.

(At $29 vs. $36, you seem to have a cheaper cartridge source than I found, but that is a relatively small part of the equation. Plus, when I used a cheaper source of my HP cartridges, they had problems.)

Sure, with enough volume, amortization can be a relatively trivial cost, as my spreadsheet shows. But for many of us, amortizing the LTO drive is a very large part of the cost. My LTO device had a much more limited lifetime than I expected it would. It was pampered, too.

As I wrote in my first post, "I am sure there are huge errors in my analysis." If you would like to check my math, I'd gladly send you the spreadsheet. I truly want to know the reality, not trade nasty remarks.

Bob C
@Bob Cole
by Tim Jones
Sorry, no nastiness intended in my comments - FUD is an simply an acronym for fear, uncertainty, and doubt and that's where I get stirred up because of the dramatic marketing pushes performed by the disk manufacturers. Sorry that it seems to have come across that way.

As for the LTO tape pricing, that's what we (TOLIS Group) sell HP brand (versus other lesser brand) tapes for every day - BTW, we only recommend HP or Fujifilm brand LTO tapes, regardless of the tape drive manufacturer.

I'll also put forth that 3 years on an LTO drive is pretty short. We still have LTO-1 drives from HP in our labs that work as well today as they did over 8 years ago. I also still have an Original Archive MaynStream DDS 1 DAT drive (circa 1989) and a 150MB Archive Viper QIC150 drive (circa 1988) that still work. All of these drives have ludicrously large numbers of hours and tape passes with no degradation in bit error rates (the measure by which tape drive failings are rated).

On the other hand, we ship LOTS of disk drives and we see a much higher RMA rate on these than on the tape drives. When you see one disk failure out of 25, that's not a bad feeling, but we see 100's of failures out of 1,000's of disk drives and THAT is worrisome.

Again, sorry that my FUD comment came across as aggressive.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
@Tim Jone
by Bob Cole
Thanks for those remarks, Tim. Your company has done as much as anyone to make LTO a great option for video producers. And I agree that 3 years is pretty short. I have an ancient LTO (1?) which probably would still be working, if we needed tapes that short. But our LTO3 did die, despite TLC and relatively little action. I agree with you about the advantages of LTO, and if my HP LTO3 hadn't died, I'd be happy as a clam. If HP had been smart they would've extended my warranty and won a customer for life. But HP refused even to service my LTO3, which makes me suspect that the big problem with LTO adoption by small production co's is that we (small prod. co's as opposed to HP) are from two different worlds, and see the expense of an LTO drive totally differently.

This is just a wild theory, but here it is: Bob's Theory as to why relatively few small producers use LTO, even though LTO makes so much sense. It's all about pricing and perception. In the corporate world, an LTO drive is a blip, an expendable like the AA batteries for our wireless mic's. In the small-producer world, an LTO drive is a fairly sizable investment. HP has plenty of corporate customers who see LTO drives as a cost of doing business and would probably pay even more for that level of data security. But the small video producer says "Gee, if I use RAID5 and back up my projects, do I need to archive? Is this the best use of our capital? And if I decide to archive, is there a cheaper way to do it?" As Walter's article points out, there is another way. And it's cost-effective.

It may not even be a matter of the quantity of data. I suspect that many a small
(LTO-less) video producer creates as much data as a medium-sized corporation. Wild speculation that, but if so, it would be ironic.

iirc, Larry Jordan recently said much the same thing about the price of LTO drives. I want one, but I want it cheaper.

Still waiting for LTO drives to come down in price a bit (and glad we can have a reasonable dialog about it, even if our sense of pricing is a bit different),

Bob C
Re: @Tim Jone
by Tim Jones
Hi Bob,

The cost issue is not one that will be resolved very easily. Unfortunately, the cost of just the tape head assembly prevents the cost of the drives from being reduced dramatically. The bundles that we sell as TOLIS Group, are actually about as low cost as we can make them while still being able to provide warranty and support.

We work very closely with HP, and even though we are aware of the engineering costs are, there is not much that can be done short of becoming a high volume OEM to purchase the products.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!
Re: @The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Helmut Kobler
Hi Bob, I have an Lto4 drive for sale, very affordable, in case you're interested.

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com
Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Ayodele Banjo
Thank You for the post Mr. Biscardi.
I just want know whether you choose one particular format for your back up drive e.g NTFS, exFAT, HFS etc?

Ayo Banjo
@Ayodele Banjo
by walter biscardi
Everything is Mac OS formatted since that is the predominate format in our facility. When we switch to LTO we'll go with the LTFS format.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Southeast Creative Summit, Returning in 2014!
Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
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Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Rich Rubasch
This is pretty much our process for the last 5 years. We went to trayless three years ago after our source for more trays ran out!

Agree that once LTO comes down in price we may go with LTO for long-term off site storage.

Since the drives are fast it is not a big deal really to back up. We also use a dual drive bay with dual Esata to clone the backup to the other backup.

We use Disc Catalog Maker from Fujiwara software to catalog the drives and search for projects etc.

Thanks Walter!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com
Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Mark Suszko
It must take some lucky assistant all day to spin up and check all those drives every 4 months.





I want to throw out some "blue sky projections" here; it's nothing you can take to the office and put to use *tomorrow*... but it may influence your strategic planning for the rest of this decade.

I think storage, DEEP, ARCHIVAL storage, is going to go thru a big transition this decade, from on-site to mostly off-site and "cloud"-based.

Why I think that, is because I believe we're going to be the beneficiaries of spin-offs from some new storage and transfer technologies, prompted by two, very large scientific projects happening in this decade: the Human Brain project in Europe, and the Square Kilometer Array ( a massive array of radio telescopes from 20 countries, scattered across the Southern Hemisphere and all linked to work as one ).

The SKA alone is going to generate an exabyte (1 billion gigs) of data every DAY. The Human Brain Project, nearly as much. To put an exabyte in context, that's a one with eighteen zeros behind it, or every word ever written by humans, throughout time, or essentially the entire internet, archived, up to today, PER DAY.

...And people say my COW posts are long.

An IBM-led consortium is working out what they call an Information-Intensive Framework, which includes much faster processors than we have today, as well as a new data management and storage approach that can handle drinking direct from that wide-open fire hose of data, and storing it. I have NO idea how they are going to manage it... but they're committed to going online and taking "first light" from the SKA just 2 years from today.

We're going to be the beneficiaries of the tech that is developed for these projects, when it spins off to industry and places like Google and Amazon, and dozens of other cloud-based storage solution companies and higher-speed, multi-gigabit network providers. If I had money to invest, I'd invest some in that infrastructure, because it is going to dominate everything that happens on the planet, going forward.

This isn't science fiction; it's science prediction.

Just as the world benefitted from the invention of HTML and the original web browser from Tim Berners-Lee's tinkering around with how to manage and share documents from the Large Hadron Collider Project at CERN in Switzerland, our world is about to transform yet again, driven by the innovations made to support these two large science projects.

This next jump is going to make data storage so cheap, nobody will even consider erasing anything. Our kids are going to swim in data like fish, it's figuratively and perhaps literally going to be the air we breathe. You won't own it locally, just the interface device and codes to access your private parts of it, from anywhere.

We're going to live to see it. I think, before the decade is over. In the light of that perspective, I look at stuff about tape-based LTO drives and even storing SATA hard drives, with about the same chagrin as we have, looking at a 1-meg floppy diskette today, and all I can think is:

"Isn't that cute."
@Mark Suszko
by walter biscardi
Mark it takes two days and I have a Media Management Specialist on staff. All she does is manage our library and she's worth every penny.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Southeast Creative Summit, Returning in 2014!
Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Re: @Mark Suszko
by Mark Suszko
It would be sweet if we could afford a full-time librarian who's only job was managing the archives. Tape Library is considered the worst duty in the shop here, because it is Sisyphean drudgery and gets no recognition or extra pay. It's sometimes considered "K.P. duty". It's made several interns or temp workers quit within a day. I'm jealous that you have a full-timer to handle it for you, but that's really the only "pro" way to keep a big library running smoothly and to make it an actual resource.
Re: @Mark Suszko
by walter biscardi
[Mark Suszko] "It would be sweet if we could afford a full-time librarian who's only job was managing the archives. Tape Library is considered the worst duty in the shop here, because it is Sisyphean drudgery and gets no recognition or extra pay. "

It's not minimum wage but it's certainly not an editor's salary either. When I went looking for someone this last time, I found someone who is a little oder and was just looking for a job for her own income in something that was fun to do. I used to hire young kids who were looking to move up, but now I've found that going the opposite direction is better for this job.

I got very lucky with Kelly, in addition to managing the library she takes care of the clients and runs pretty much any errands we need done. When you really start to add up the time you spend doing "stuff" instead of working, it's worth paying the extra money. There are times I can't really afford a full-time librarian, but honestly I can't afford NOT to have someone on staff full time at this point. I just find the money because Kelly is so valuable to the company as a whole, I can't afford to lose her. She's all hell of a lot of fun too.

http://www.biscardicreative.com/who-we-are/team/kelly/

If you treat the job as "drudgery and it sucks" well that's the kind of person you're going to find. If you treat this as a really cool industry working with some fun folks in this company, well you might get lucky and find someone who is just happy to be a part of the team. Kelly had zero experience in this industry when she arrived two years ago. Two months later she was running the machine room like she'd been doing it all her life. Change your attitude towards the job and maybe change your mindset towards the type of people you're looking for and you might find the right combination for your group.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Southeast Creative Summit, Returning in 2014!
Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

Blog Twitter Facebook
Re: @Mark Suszko
by Mark Suszko
I think the really important insight I got from your post, Walter, was that up-and-coming young people don't see the library task the way an older archivist would.

I don't handle any hiring here, and personnel rules at this level are quite Byzantine, so you may not always get a person with the right "mindset" about the tape librarian job - you'd have to inculcate that kind of positive attitude into whomever finally gets hired. But archival just isn't as high a priority here as the day to day productions and live shots, and we're understaffed; nobody has the time to be the full-time librarian, and that's really what it takes to make it work.

Me being an old-timer, I have what the staff joke about as a "too holy" attitude to every scrap of tape in the shop, whereas, the young'uns tend to think of everything in the library as "old junk" instead of as a resource. If they don't see immediate utility in keeping something, they would just as soon chuck it. I see a tape on the shelf, and I remember the actual shoot, often times. But I also can imagine some future academic or documentary maker, either internal or external, asking if there was any recording of so-and-so event or person or location from so-and-so era. So I save things, things nobody may ever ask for, for those imaginary people of the future. It's institutional memory I'm trying to preserve, in a time when "millenials" don't value or understand that.

This clip kinda illustrates my nightmare scenario:





Re: The Production Process EXTRA: Archiving Data
by Bob Zelin
This is a great article, and I hope that a lot of people read it. Archiving is becoming a critical part of post production. I too love Cru Data for trayless drive chassis. There are lots of teriffic LTO solutions on the market (I like Tolis Group BRU, and I like Imagine Products PreRoll Post for LTFS), but both are SLOW compared to drives - but that's the nature of LTO.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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