In the first part of this series we learned what the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is, how LTFS works, and what makes it so intriguing that it has become the standard for disk-like access on tape. This quote by Paul Rubens, Enterprise Storage Forum, sums up the LTFS magic: “LTFS software can also present a standard file system view of the files stored on the tape in LTFS format, just as if they were stored on traditional spinning disks or flash media. That’s important because it means users can drag and drop files or simply click on them to access them in the normal way.” LTFS is like a clever storage fox eyeing some delicious files to gobble up!
In this second installment of the three part LTFS series we will discover how to get started using LTFS with LTO-5 or LTO-6 tape technology.
How to Start Using LTFS
Getting started using LTFS is a simple 4 step process:
Step 1- Download the LTFS free software for a standalone drive from your drive vendor’s website for use with your LTO-5 or LTO-6 tape drive. LTFS is supported on versions of Linux, MAC OS and MS Windows. Check with your vendor for specific OS version support.
Step 2- Load the LTFS software one time on to your server, pc or MAC.
Step 3- Mount the drive, format a standard LTO data tape with LTFS, it only takes about 20 seconds. This creates two partitions: one for the Index and metadata and the other partition for the content folders and files.
Step 4- The tape drive appears in your directory browser tree – access it directly, no special backup application is needed. Now you can start dragging and dropping files to and from your LTO tape for long term protection and preservation!
Roll Camera, Action……LTFS Automated
LTFS can be used in an automated tape library system. In this implementation the tape library is typically the mount point and the first level folders are individual cartridges that contain sub-folders and file content. Users can search, open and drag and drop files to and from the cartridge folders in a similar manner as using any other storage device. In this case, the library automation does the work of retrieving and storing the cartridges. Ahhhh, life is simple…life is good!
Read an overview of LTFS at Techtarget by George Crump, President, Storage Switzerland. Crump states, “LTFS makes tape look like a file system, enabling drag-and-drop operations that resemble a NAS share.” He goes on to discuss the need for an unconnected, offline copy of data – LTO tape – that would be immune from situations like a virus or unwarranted file deletions that can quickly propagate online copies causing serious file recovery problems.
LTO technology and LTFS can address many applications in a variety of industry segments including: Media and Entertainment production, post production, distribution, and archiving; Digital video Surveillance archives; Medical Imaging preservation of x-rays, sonograms, and the like; Legal files and documents including evidence of videos, testimony, and pictures; Architectural drawings; Oil & Gas Exploration images; Cloud applications and many more! That tape storage fox is so clever.
In the next installment we will explore user implementations of LTFS with LTO technology and some of the many offerings available from providers supporting LTFS.