Cool Solutions

Pallets of Backup Tapes (Can this cause a black hole?)


August 25, 2010 9:27 am





RM wrote: This is a somewhat exaggerated, but true story happening right now.

It all started with “Bob, I need to see you in my office.” Counsel decided that we needed to retain e-mail and user files for a potential litigation. So instead of implementing a system to, uh, “archive” mail and files it was decided to just take our backup tapes for each day, keep them. Buying new tapes as needed. Thereby solving the problem, once and for all.

Week 1 – There are about 18 tapes per day to cover the systems involved. So that’s about 125 tapes. 5 x 5 x 5. Well, that’s not so bad..

Week 10 – A burgeoning yellow cube of neatly stacked LTO cartridges, 7 x 7 x 25 tapes high, about the size of a large laser printer, no big deal. It’s OK, after all how long can this legal hold go on?

Month 6 – 3000+ tapes. It’s too big to fit in the fire vault, so we placed them on a table. Uh, did you hear something? Oh, that’s just the tapes at the bottom squealing, gasping for air.

Year 1 – 6500 tapes. What appears to be an otherworldly Borg Cube made entirely out of LTO tapes has accumulated. There was concern that the table would collapse, and so a special pallet was constructed. The cube is approximately 2 cubic yards, forming a 4 foot cube.

Year 2 – Approximately 12000 tapes. “The crisis continues!” We added a second pallet, and have roughly half of the tapes in each of 2 cubes, each 4 x 4 x 4 feet. The total weight is approximately 3 tons.

Last week – Time to have them build another pallet. OMG, please kill me!

Now some people worry about the expense, about $250K. Or the impracticality of doing discovery on 12000 tapes. Not me. I worry about this highly compressed mass, contracting under the force of its own mutual gravitational attraction, forming a black hole which will burrow to the center of the Earth to consume us all.

Gotta go. I need to send this e-mail and purge it before the next backup window so it doesn’t end up on tape.

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  1. By:rbartsch

    but I feel your pain.

  2. By:geoffc

    Come on man, did you not read a Brief History of Time? The density of LTO tape is not high enough. Regardless of how many you have.

    Of course, once you need a building dedicated to storing these tapes, perhaps someone will come to their senses.

    of course you do not say LTO1, LTO2, or LTO3 and we all know that due to the higher data density, LTO3 tapes mass more due to the extra electrons.

    On a side note, the guys at Tesla motors were curious how much the electrons in a fully charged battery pack that can power a sports car for 150 miles, and from 0-60 MPH in something like 6 seconds. So they weighed an empty and fully charged battery pack, and they could not detect a mass difference. I.e. Electrons just do not mass a whole heck of a lot! 1/1832 the mass of a Proton as I recall.

  3. By:Sgermanides

    But a perfect example of the absurdity of contemporary storage management. Thanks for taking the time to submit.

    Ask your partner about the free File Reporter Assessment you could be entitled to. That’s a great way to start making things better (for the future. Not sure what you’ll do with all that tape!!)