As many of you know, I’ve been beating the drum for better and lower-cost archive solutions for video editors for a while. While LTO drives are the option of choice, they tend to be very expensive. Recently, reader Sal Guarisco sent me his experiences with installing a low-cost HP LTO drive into his MacPro. So let me share what he wrote (I’ve edited this a bit for clarity):
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After I started reading Larry’s book “Final Cut Pro X: Making The Transition,” he enlightened me on page 8 with the knowledge that hard drives can lose data sitting on a shelf and recommended using an LTO (Linear Tape Open) tape system as a long-term backup and storage solution.
After two weeks of online research into the the best set-up that would fit my budget and getting nowhere, I gave Larry a call to see what he recommended. To my surprise, Larry admitted that he had purchased an HP LTO drive but had not gotten it to work with his Mac Pro.
After a few false starts on my own, this is what I learned: LTO-5 (1.5 TB uncompressed & up to 3 TB compressed) is the best way to go, HP, Quantum (and IBM) manufacture almost identical drives; but I went with the HP StorageWorks Ultrium 3000 SAS Half-height external standalone drive. I was able to find it online new for $1625.00.
(My only caution is that HP’s Level 1 tech support for LTO drives is just two people on the West Coast who aren’t very knowledgeable about their product or even their company’s limited Mac support for their tape drives.)
Atto Technologies and LSI manufacture host controller cards that are Mac-compatible and work with tape drives. I went with the Atto ExpressSAS H680 for $313.00 online. Atto’s tech support is 1st class and they are very knowledgeable on the compatibility of their product and tape drives on a Mac.
If you want to run an SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) RAID enclosure as well as a tape drive, I suggest the Atto ExpressSAS R680 RAID controller for as low as $650.00 online.
I chose Retrospect Desktop 9 for my backup software along with their Annual Support and Maintenance for $249.00. This covers one desktop server and four clients. Their tech support as well as their software is also 1st class. I’ve found that if your tape drive is not turned on at start up and you turn it on afterward, the software will not recognize it, but a quick restart resolves this.
NOTE: Retrospect comes with a desktop sever and 5 clients that let you back up 6 machines and work either on wired or wireless networks. If you need more clients, you can buy more. They have great customer support that will answer pre-sales questions. www.retrospect.com/en/products/mac/versions
I’m very pleased with this storage setup and its performance on my early 2008 MacPro dual quad core 2.8 GHz, 18 GB RAM. Expect around 3GB/minute transfer and verify rates and 5GB/minute restore rates. If you add the three extra tape cartridges and head cleaner I got for $180.00, the total cost of my setup is $2367.00. If you do some shopping online, you can find pretty much the same deals. Good luck!
Larry, thanks for the opportunity to help. Your FCP X training course along with your book is great! Once I get a better handle on the software, I’ll dive into the three business tutorials I bought. Keep up the good work!
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Larry replies: Thanks, Sal, for taking the time to write this. For users that don’t own a MacPro, this isn’t an option until a Thunderbolt expansion chassis supporting SAS becomes available at an affordable price. But this is excellent news for MacPro users that want to create an inexpensive LTO archiving solution.
Final Cut Pro X 10.4
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