back to article Gmail mystery solved: Google went to Sun for backup

Google's lost emails were apparently restored from Oracle StreamLine 8500 tape libraries using LTO drives. Up until now the tape infrastructure Google used to restore its lost emails has been unknown. Our understanding from informed industry sources is that Google has 16 StorageTek StreamLine 8500 tape libraries with both …


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  1. Caff


    Knowing the robot and drives is all well and good but what software do they use?

    We have comvault + sl8500 + lto3's in our place

    1. P Saunders

      We use the tape drive from an old Commodore 64

      Very reliable but it takes about 36 months to access the backed up files.

  2. Marvin the Martian

    Not public?

    If the story's not public, how come I'm reading it on a mayor tech news site?

    I'm sure you've heard of leaking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Not public?

      It doesn't say the story's not public, it says that Oracle/IBM aren't advertising this use of their gear as an endorsement.

  3. nichomach
    Thumb Up

    Apparently, tape is dead

    Funny how it refuses to lie down, isn't it?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    proprietary info

    I hope no Bothams died getting this information

    1. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      "I hope no Bothams died getting this information "

      Beefy ? context ?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if...

    I wonder if Google has the same 240-character pathname length restriction as is in place at my employer? Seriously. Our IT department can't figure out how to restore backups where the length of the pathname exceeds 240 characters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In defense of your IT department

      That'll be the backup software, not their intellectual prowess. Depending on the size of your organization versus the size of the IT budget, replacing the backup software (servers & clients) won't happen until the CEO can't restore his Fiona Apple CD.

      1. alwarming
        Thumb Up

        "CEO can't restore his Fiona Apple CD. House Rules"


    2. nichomach

      In all fairness...

      ..the MAX_PATH limit in the Windows API is hardly their fault; nor is the fact that NTFS blithely ignores it and allows paths thousands of characters long to be created. Possibly some better backup software might help (so push for some budget for it...)?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or better yet...

        Avoid limits. Don't store your data on a windows box. Even if you have to let your users use windows.

        Related to the backup solution. The Sun, now Oracle StorageTek jukeboxes are like the energizer bunny. They just keep working and never need to be kicked. We'd tried some other vendor jukeboxes to try and save cost, but they kept having issues, which kept causing backups to fail. Along with needing parts replaced.

  6. J. Cook Silver badge

    Mmmm... LTO tape...

    Another commvault+LTO customer, but we are running the drives in a Dell TL4K (which is a re-badged IBM TS3200) at $Work. We've had this particular vault for a bit under a year now, and it's been good for us.

  7. sisk

    Wait, physical tapes?

    Seriously? Storing those things has got to be a nightmare. Heck, storing and cataloging our LTO tapes was getting to be troublesome right before we switched to a VTL, and I'd wager Google has orders of magnitude more data to back up than we do.

  8. wagging_two

    Tape and disk - yes it's real

    In the context of this thread, who cares what backup software you use. I mean really, what's with the CommVault folks telling us they use CommVault and tape. For some organizations, tape can be a very cost effective means for storing backup data that does not have high RTO or RPO objectives. Disk plays a role, but to dump on tape like some EMC sales person is short sighted. RTO-RPO-TCO.

    Let's put it in perspective - ONE 8550 - max config with LTO Gen 3 is 300,000 carts, 400 GB/cart – 120 PB. And that's up to 2,496 cartridge slots. Google has 16 of these. Let me know about that quote for 2000 PBs of disk.

    The successful recovery from tape is really about backup management and tape quality. However, the ability to successfully manage a large disk and tape infrastructure like this on a daily basis is another matter.

    So what type of backup software do you think is managing this size environment (not what type you use)? Custom or not?

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