LTFS has been widely accepted by tape users across the globe. As a quick background LTFS presents the data on tape to the end user in a file system format. The simple drivers installed on the system also allow users to use standard copy commands, including drag and drop, to move data to and from tape.
This also means that barring possible access time-outs in large systems most applications designed to work with Disk can also be used with LTFS.
So how does that help Tape in the long run? Simple, it means smaller users can store vast amounts of data for a long period of time without the worry of bit-rot associated with memory sticks or worrying about the bit-rot/failure rate of disks when they are not spinning.
Here is an example of 2 applications that do a very good job of utilizing LTFS with no modifications to the software.
I want to preface that in no way am I endorsing these products beyond their ease of use and cost effectiveness for IBMs smaller customers.
The first application is called “Echo Cataloger” ($29.95 http://www.1delta.net). This application allows users to keep a catalog of all data on different media types, including LTFS, and retain the catalog for media that is offline. This means that data that is collected and saved to LTFS media can now be searched without loading the media to the host system. Searches are by file, type, media label and date. I have found this to be very convenient for keeping track of what files I have stored on what tapes and USB sticks so I can go right to the media and retrieve the file I want.
Figure 1, Choosing a drive to catalog
Figure 2 Easy file search
The second program is called “My File Queue” ($12, http://ludmon.com.au/myfilequeue/ ). This application allows the user to choose unlimited files to be copied to a second directory and can pull them from multiple locations. This is excellent for usage with LTFS LE since LTFS LE can only [effectively] copy data to as many concurrent volsers as drives that are available in the library. The mechanism for creating the list is very easy to use and handles queuing. Multiple threads of the application can be opened at the same time, just make sure that they are using different valser directories and no more directories than drives that are available. This can also be easily used with LTFS SDE to create a copy queue before a user or admin leaves on any given day for a server or single system. This can prevent cartridges from ending up in a swap condition by ordering files to cartridges in an ordered queue.
Figure 3. My Files Queue Choosing files
Figure 4. My Files Queue Data Queued from different directories
These and other applications are great enablers to help our smaller customers protect and track their data. It is also a great way to demonstrate to smaller customers that tape can be easily used to retain data without having a special admin to handle the tape operations.