Linux Journal: Tape Machines

“Some say that tapes currently are useless because the price of
hard drives has dropped so much that it’s as cheap to buy another
hard drive for backup. For somebody who runs his own ISP, this
might be true. But for someone with only a single system, or a
small home network with only a couple users, I think this is wrong.
An 80GB tape costs about the same as an 80GB hard drive. But to
backup an 80GB hard drive on a home network, you don’t need an 80GB
tape. When you stop and look at your hard drive, at least 50% of
the data is system programming that is already stored on your
distribution’s CDs. This data does not need to be backed up. The
hard drive of my home network’s main system has 6.5GB of space. It
is about 70% full, which seems to be normal for a home system. Of
this 4.5GB of data, at least 3.2GB are system and program files
that came with my distribution or are from other CDs I have.
Therefore, I have only about 1.3GB of data to worry about. These
data files are, for example, e-mails, MP3s, configuration files,
etc. Even on very old 512MB tapes, it would only take two or three
tapes to copy everything necessary.

“So far, I’ve recycled four tape drives, all of them SCSI types.
I decided to set up one of the SCSI tapes on a node of my home
network to learn how to back up data on my machines. On Penguin,
Foe of Batman (I name my systems after famous penguins), I added an
old SCSI 1510 controller card with a well-used QIC-1000 tape drive
and a small 200MB hard drive (I added the hard drive only because I
had it–I’m a pack rat at heart). The tape drive came with ten
525MB tapes. I recycled all this from about four different


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