LTO-2, viable option for 2TB of data?


Dec 18, 2016
I have about 2TB of data that I don't have backed up and it should be.Just got this Dell T3500 to use as a gaming computer, but since it's really a workstation, it can do server things too.. I've got about $200 more that I could spend and the computer itself does not need anything more.

I was thinking of picking up a cheaper external LTO-2 drive ( Like a Dell Power vault ) and a SCSI card, and using some cheap or free software, could back up my data easy. I don't have a blue ray burner, and at 25-50gb per disc it does not seem viable... Is LTO-2 viable? it seems old enough the price isn't astronomical but it's got enough capacity with compression.
Remember the LTO2 tapes are 200GB native. Depending on your data (how well it compresses) you likely need 7 or 8 tapes for a single backup.

With that said at work I am still using a dual drive 24 slot LTO2 archive with 200+ tapes in use.. Although I want to replace this because LTO2 tapes are as expensive as LTO6 tapes that hold 12.5 times the data..

For you I would recommend purchasing 2 external USB hard disk drives alternating drives for your backup each week.
Last edited:
That makes sense, although I don't trust externals for data retention as ive had the controllers go bad in them. But triple redundant data would work
I could but the data isn't on the T3500. It has its own data. I used to have a mirrored drive for some data, but it quit and I never replaced
I see. Was thinking you had it on a HDD already and you could copy from one to another. Had a few bare 200Gb drives previously in externals that I did that with here.
No its on my media server. Just an old laptop that runs plex server
You should definitely *not* invest in a tape backup solution for the simple problem of backing up ~2TB of data.

The way I figure, you've got a couple options that are viable. You could pick up an inexpensive 2-bay NAS device and put in a pair of hard drives. This would likely exceed your $200 budget though, due to the cost of the NAS.

The other option is to do what Susquehannock mentioned and just buy a SATA drive (3-4TB should do) and install it in your T3500. Then set up a file-sync job to copy all the data nightly over a network from wherever it's stored to this disk on the T3500.

Depending on your internet speed, you could also get an inexpensive internet backup solution like Backblaze ($5/month) and send the stuff you care about into the cloudy land of the internets.
I've thought about doing that but with another computer rather than my desktop. I guess like a faux NAS type build. Running a lite version of linux with 3-4tb of storage. I could probably put something together with stuff I have around here.

I don't have space for another HD in the T3500 since I eliminated the top hard drive bay for the GTX 1060 and I have SAT internet so cloud won't work.
I don't think a single NAS helps with this problem. Even with raid. It's still better to have 2 independent external drives alternating each backup.
There is a HDD spot at bottom of the upper optical bay. Screws should be on back of the plastic drive bezel.

If the back up is not be accessed regularly you could just leave the side open and set the drive beside it. Then reconnect later.
Yea, I have a drive in that slot. Has my steam games on it. Doesn't have an ideal storage solution but it works for me. The actual hd bay has ssd boot drive and a 500gb 2.5" had in a dual adapter
I just ordered a Dell Power Vault LTO-3 drive. I know it's really not the best solution, but I calculated everything, and figured in other data and it will end up a fair deal. About $130 ready to write data. I wouldn't have gotten one, I was just browsing but it was cheap with a warranty.

I'm going to change around my media server, and upgrade it to my now spare Optiplex 755 ( currently is a Latitude D610 ) with onboard hard drives for storage and then the current externals will also be backups for triple redundant data.