mLogic ® Case Study

Blake West Films calls on mTape Thunderbolt 3 LTO-7 to archive content residing on old hard drives

Born in Arizona, I was raised on the country’s largest Native American reservation, The Navajo Nation. At the time, my parents were teachers that ran the Art Department at Chinle High School and constantly encouraged creativity. My mother, Susan Rawdin, is a veteran photographer of 30+ years, and my father, Kim Rawdin, is a Smithsonian-recognized artist. I’m grateful that starting my career as an editor led me to work with such industry moguls as Marta Kauffman and Quentin Tarantino, and shapes the way I direct to this day. My work has earned a Grammy nomination, been an Official Selection at Sundance Film Festival, and a place on the Oscar’s short list.

Working in the entertainment industry as a director and editor for nearly two decades, I’ve managed to build up a big collection of old hard drives from the projects I’ve worked on. The thing is none of them have ever been properly backed up. So, I decided to figure out the best way to easily and affordably archive all of these hard drives – some 10+ years old. I viewed this task as an experiment since I didn’t even know if I could get some of the old drives to mount.

After doing some research online, it became evident to me that archiving to LTO tape was the way to go. The mTape kept coming up in my searches so I decided to get an LTO-7 deck from mLogic. I went with the mTape since it connects directly to my Mac Book Pro via Thunderbolt 3. The unit itself is very nicely designed. I love the dark metallic gray case as well as the stainless steel stabilization bar that helps keep the unit from tipping.

The image on the right shows my collection of aging hard drives from various vendors. In total there are 26 drives with 44TB of media! I really needed to protect the content on these drive for the long-term and realized that I would likely lose data if I did nothing. Plus all these drives were taking up a lot of physical space.

mTape ships with a simple drag and drop Linear Tape
File System (LTFS) archiving and retrieve utility.
To ensure that what you archive to mTape is an exact replica of your source material, the utility utilizes xxHASH64 verification.
Detailed Transfer Logs are also generated with every archive.

I started with the oldest drives first and it was slow going due to USB 2.0 transfer speeds!Using the included mTape LTFS Archive Utility, I basically set the mTape drive to backup hard drives overnight. In total it took me a week to back up all the drives. A good lesson is not letting that much material pile up on hard drives in the first place where it is vulnerable to being lost forever. Out of the 26 hard drives, I wasn’t able to mount four of them. So four drives worth of data were lost.

Having finished offloading the drives I can say it feels great knowing my data from all of my old projects is secure on LTO tape. Not only that, I created a whole lot of space in my storage closet – to which my wife has already put to use!

“With mTape in my workflow, archiving my projects has become routine and I now have peace-of-mind that my content is protected on LTO for years to come.”

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