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Moving old backup tapes to new backup systems

Many customers in the PrePress industry have several types of old backup systems with a wide variety of tapes lingering around that are their fortune and their business.

But, many of the systems are becoming outdated, have no upgrade potential and are becoming more of a liability than a company asset. These include older AIT, DLT tapes, older hard drives of 4, 9, and 18G Bytes that no longer can handle the real time load.

The key question these customers ask us is: "How can I move my old tape database to your new tape database?" The honest answer in most cases is, "You can't. They are totally incompatible." Or, "It will cost you a considerable amount of money for our programmers to combine the two databases."

However, there is a simple way for them to move the old data to the new data backup system:

  1. Keep the old backup system. You will need to access your old data for at least a few more months.
  2. Immediately start all of your new jobs on the new backup system.
  3. Each week, or evening, depending on your backup scheme, move a chunk of your old data to a storage folder in the new system called either OldData1, or OldDate010298. Or, build a folder that has the same naming scheme you used for your old folder and build that into the OldData folder. The key here is to make sure you change the name each time so that the old data is not written over the data you recorded on the last sequence. A simple example is to start at your lower naming scheme system first, such as SKU 0001 and then the next day transfer SKU 0002, etc.
  4. Over time, you will accumulate in your new data backups a place where the old data is secure and accumulates.
  5. Over a period of a few months, obviously depending on the amount of old data, you build that old data into the new database. It will be on the new tapes, accessible a lot faster, and you cut down the time that would be used to move the old data to the new system.
  6. This method will save your client considerable costs as opposed to their hiring programmers to tap into the two databases and combine them.
  7. On the last tape day, throw a retirement party for that poor old Sparc 20 running some 1991 program that has far outlasted its usefulness.

About the author: Chuck Donaldson is in systems integration at Agfa Corporation.

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