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LTO-3 to LTO-5 migration

Created: 12 Jun 2013 • Updated: 14 Jun 2013 | 8 comments
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We have several hundred LTO-3 tapes that we would like to migrate to newer tape technology to replace old media as well as reduce the physical space needed for storage. We have several Dell ML6000 units with a mix of servers running BE 12d and BE 2010.  The ML6000 units have a mix of LTO 3/4/5 drives.  Tapes were written using NDMP.

Can I do a tape to tape migration of data from LTO3 to LTO5 without having to restore the LTO-3 data to the storage array and then re-write back to LTO-5? If so, what is the proper procedure to follow?

Thank you,


Operating Systems:

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SuperBrain's picture

Well the only way i can think this could ever be done is:

1. A Backup Exec media server (your existing BE media server would work here)

2. A LTO3 drive physically connected to your BE media server to read LTO3 tapes

3. A LTO5 drive  physically connected to your BE media server to read LTO5 tapes

4. Configure and run duplicate backup jobs from existing LTO3 tapes targeting to your LTO5 tapes.

Since you have seven hundered odd tapes.. i'm afraid this is gonna require a lot of time, efforts and patience. indecision

A more convenient way to do this according to me would be to perform duplicate tape to disks [this would obviously required high capacity disk(s)], but i assume it would be faster reading from tapes (sequention) and writing to disks (dynamic) as compared to reading from tapes (sequential) and writing to another tape (sequential again).

ebcobra93's picture

Hello SuperBrain. I appreciate the response. However, it is my understanding that the LTO5 drives can read LTO3 (not write). Therefore, I was hoping to utillize an ML6000 that has four LTO5 drives in it and select the LTO3 tapes, run the duplicate job, and direct it to the LTO5.

Another related issue that I am running into is, the LTO3 tapes were written without NDMP. Our tape libraries are now setup to use NDMP. Can I do the tape to tape duplication if the LTO3 tapes were originally not written using NDMP, but it is now being used with the LTO5 configuration?

Your idea of going tape to disk is a good one, however, the customer wants to retain tape backups of all of the data (and refresh the older tapes).

Thanks again.

teiva-boy's picture

Since you have LTO3 and 5 alreaddy in the same library.  You can just do a duplicate job from one drive pool to another.

You'll do a lot of tape swapping iff you don't have enough slots in the library, but since the library is equipped with the needed drive types, no disk staging is needed.

There is an online portal, save yourself the long hold times. Create ticket online, then call in with ticket # in hand :-) "We backup data to restore, we don't backup data just to back it up."

ebcobra93's picture

Teiva, thank you for your reply. I made a mistake in my initial post.

We do not have an LTO3 drive. We have two ML6000 libraries. One has two LTO4 drives and two LTO5 drives. The other ML6000 has four LTO5 drives.

We have been using the LTO4 drives to read/write the LTO3 tapes.

Thanks again.

pkh's picture

You can use either libraries to do your duplication.  For the library with both LTO4 and LTO5 tape drives, you should setup barcode rules so that the LTO4 tape drive is not used to read/write LTO5 tapes.  See my article below

ebcobra93's picture

pkh, thank you.  Great attached article as well.

Just to recap and verify...I should be able to use the library with the four LTO5 drives to do a tape to tape duplication? And, it is just a matter of selecting the source (LTO3 tapes) and directing them to the destination (LTO5 tapes) during the "Duplicate Media Sets" operation?

If we end up using the mixed drive library, we will follow your recommendations in the article you referenced.

On last issue that I mentioned originally: The LTO3 tapes were written without NDMP protocol. The tape libraries are now attached to an NDMP server. Will this affect the tape to tape duplication? I am hoping not, because we are not restoring back to disk.

Thank you.

pkh's picture

No.  NDMP will not affect duplication.

ebcobra93's picture

Thank you for all of the responses. We are still having issues with getting the LTO3 tapes to be read in the library for some reason. That will take some troubleshooting. I am not at the site, but am told that error states something about no device or media availalbe.

Once I obtain more info, I may seek more recommendations.

Thanks again.