Magnetic tape is viewed as a somewhat outdated medium by many people these days but for backing up larges amounts of data over a long period of time (and Informatics has a lot of data to back up), it still offers by far the best value for money. Our old Overland Neo8000 has served us faithfully for the last 5 years but the amount of data backed up in Informatics is ever increasing and the Neo8000 was reaching the limits of its capacity. In addition, the cost of maintaining the library had risen sharply. With this in mind, the decision was taken to procure a new tape library and we have just brought a Spectra T680 library into service (the new library is the 2001ish black obelisk in the centre of the photo, the old library is on the left).
At first sight, there seems little difference between the two libraries. Both can hold approximately 500 tapes and have 6 tape drives installed. But the Spectra T680 drives are LTO6 compared to the Neo’s LTO4 which gives the new library a total native capacity of 1.2 Petabytes compered to 0.4 PB for the old library. In addition, the LTO6 drives are significantly faster which will help greatly in fitting the daily backups into a 24 hour window.