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Archival best practices

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I'm looking for advice and all-around best practice(s) for archiving. I've read through the basic Retrospect guide on archiving but I'm looking for deeper info and some real-world examples to help guide me. I'm a bit new to archiving and while I have my idea of how to handle it, I'm assuming there are many others before me with much more knowledge they would like to pass down.


I want to archive old projects from our online storage to our offline (LTO3) storage. By "archive" I mean move to tape and delete from the source. After reading the Retro Tips docs, I plan to have 2 archive scripts. The first will archive w/o the optional move, and the 2nd will archive to different media w/ the optional move. This way I have two copies of the same archive on different tapes, one for onsite and the other for offsite.


My initial thinking was to have a server volume for my users called something like 'Archive', simple enough. I would train my users what to put there, how to name it, etc. This will get the data off the main data share and therefore out of my daily/weekly backup routine. Depending on the amount of data I would most likely commit to tape archive once every month. Once committed to tape, the projects would be removed from the online Archive share. I'm assuming the data has already been backed up before.


Although for this post I don't think tech specs matter too much, here is what I've got:

- All Mac OS X environment

- PowerMac G5 DP 1.8Ghz, 6.5GB RAM, 10.4.8 as dedicated Retro backup server

- Connected via FC is a 3.5TB xServe Raid and Exabyte LTO3 Magnum 224LC FC library

- Retrospect 6.1.126, DAV: 1.0.107, DUV:


Some issues/questions:

1. How will my users know what data is archived so they can retrieve it later down the road?

- I was thinking of using something like DiskTracker to catalog every single file in the archive and tag it with the corresponding tape IDs. A user could then tell me they need project X which is showing it is located in the June 07 archive on tape 1234. This is more man hours than I would like to commit to archives. Another option is some sort of FMP database. Perhaps Retrospect has something built-in already that I am clearly missing.


2. If I commit a set of data to archive and it only uses 30% of a tape, is it ok to reuse that same tape next month to maximum the storage capacity of the tapes, or is that a no-no?


3. How would the process actually go, perhaps something like this?

a) move data from 'Archive' server share to date-stamped directory such as 2007.02

B) use DiskTracker to catalog all data in 2007.02

c) run archive script named 'ONSITE' w/o move using 2007.02 as source, once complete

d) run archive script named 'OFFSITE' w/ move using 2007.02 as source

e) move tapes to proper storage facility/location, etc.


4. Do I simply have 2 archive scripts that keep grabbing new tapes as needed... so in theory in a year I would have done 12 archives and it could have spanned across 10-20 LTO3 tapes. Is that ok, or is it best to treat each archive run as its own?

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