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derek500

SCSI through thunderbolt?

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Our tape library was a big investment, and I still have no problems with it's performance or a desire to change our library of tapes. However, our Retrospect server is showing it's age (old Mac Pro, can't upgrade to Mavericks, etc).

 

I'm curious if anybody has experiences using a thunderbolt PCIe expansion box to house a SCSI card, or if there is another way to continue using SCSI on a new Mac? (Preferably a Retrospect supported way!)

 

I realize of course that backups are valuable, and if we are to continue using tapes going forward we should consider investing in a more modern library, but I hate throwing away a perfectly good bit of hardware and a substantial investment in the library and tapes.

 

Any ideas? (Get a last-gen Mac Pro?) Is SCSI supported in 10.9?

 

We have an ATTO UL5D card, Qualstar 4212 Library and use AIT-5 tapes.

 

Thanks all

-Derek

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When I retired our DLT (and prior to that DAT) system I retired it along with the Mac host, fully intact. I have very rarely had to return to these machines but they are there if I need to recover something. It seemed the most efficient and economical thing to do. Futzing around with seldom used hardware in a modern system, if there was a problem, would be more painful than the space surrendered to keep these old machines in house. If I need something I just bring it up from storage. Plug it in, it boots and into Retrospect 6 I go for recovery.

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I recently upgraded to Retro 10 on a new server with Mavs. I still have retro 9 on a old 10.6 xserve working with LTO and Fiber for archiving and weekly backups. So think buy slowly migration :-)

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HI Bill,

Thanks. That's the approach I'm probably going to take. Our backups have always been intended as 'disaster recover' only with offsite redundancy, so I shouldn't need to keep the aging hardware around. As I have been evaluating new hardware, it's still tough to find something as cost effective as tape for the long term. We want to add some cloud based solution and archival ability going forward, we may end up with a mutli-tiered backup plan, but I don't want to complicate things too much.

 

My biggest problem with most of the cloud solutions is cost! I may just look at weekly replication of our Retrospect disk storage, even that is pricey. Physical tapes being handled by a local secure storage vendor are still extremely cheap! Of course, in a true DR situation, recreating the existing hardware is getting harder and harder.

 

I'm open to ideas though.

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Thanks ggirao,

 

I'm sure our setup would work well on a new powerful Mini with thunderbolt storage. Almost - The issue is the 'tape' part of it. The library is the most expensive part of the package. I've seen plenty of thunderbolt to fiber adapters, but no path from thunderbolt to SCSI.

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Sheerly for entertainment value... I poked around for a bit... exploring the idea of trying to get a SCSI based library attached to a Thunderbolt equiped system.

 

The "best" solution of course would be to upgrade to a modern library and host system.  Of course this may not be reasonable cost-wise.

 

Realistically, I would indeed just buy a last-gen Mac Pro and be done with it.  ATTO (for example) has SCSI drivers available for their line of host adapters tested and supported thru OS 10.8.5.  You could easily leave that machine on 10.8.5 for quite awhile to run Retrospect, or experiment with 10.9 before placing it into production.

 

Other ideas... albeit these are almost entirely academic, and I wouldn't go spending money on them... would only test if I had the items on-hand.... and even then, not sure I'd deploy in a production environment with some serious testing.  Again this is almost just "for fun".

 

-Try a Sonnet Thunderbolt PCI expansion chassis with your scsi card.  None are listed as supported, but then again - they likely haven't even been tested.

 

-Skip thunderbolt altogether and do USB to SCSI with something like a Ratoc U2SCX-LVD USB 2.0 to Ultra Wide SCSI Converter.   This is going to be SLOW - as that's a USB2 adapter.

 

 

Again.  This is just for fun.  Don't *do* any of those.   Buy a new host system... or even new host and library.  :rolleyes:

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I wouldn't recommend trying cards in a thunderbolt chassis that don't have driver support.  The reason is that Thunderbolt is hot plug.  That adds a whole new aspect to driver complexity.

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