Questions

Which OS does Canister support?

Canister requires macOS 10.11 or newer.

Which hardware does Canister support?

Version 20.1 is available for download here and received support until Dec 31th 2020. It does not support Big Sur. To upgrade a legacy Canister license (starts with id) reach out.

Canister supports all LTO drives that are connected through SAS, which tends to be all standalone desktop units. Those tend to use either Thunderbolt, SAS through a PCI card like ATTO, or SAS into a device that translates it to Thunderbolt like a RocketStor or Sonnet with an ATTO card.

Tape libraries are supported as far as they have drives connected through SAS, but Canister will not offer control of the tape robot, as of now.

Can I delete files from a tape?

The short answer is "no, LTFS does not support file deletions". The only way to remove data from a tape is to erase it.

The long answer: it's possible to remove files from the index partition (by accessing a tape with Finder or Terminal and deleting files) but this will only make them vanish from the index; it will not clear the space used by the deleted files. As rolling back a tape will make the deleted files available again, it's not a security mechanism either, so don't bother.

Should I keep any free space, like with a hard disk?

Yes.

Can I rename a tape?

LTFS only allows a name and serial to be set for a tape when formatting.

Does Canister use LTFS to manage tape backups? What's the difference between using LTFS and TAR in the Terminal?

Canister uses LTFS. The difference between TAR and LTFS is that LTFS is a file system. That means your OS already has the tools included to work with LTFS, which in turn means no vendor lock-in for you. With TAR, you're always relying on a vendor's app to work and will be in trouble if that vendor happens to go out of business. With LTFS, that will not happen.

Can tapes made on Windows be ready by Canister, and vice-versa?

Yes, if the Windows software is capable of working with LTFS that works. A Windows-version of Canister is in development, reach out for details and a pre-order discount.

Is it possible to add multiple folders in one transfer?

This is currently unsupported due to LTFS introducing fragmentation when transferring multiple folders. Mechanisms to prevent this and allow transfers from folders on the same volume are in active development.

Is it possible to skip or disable verification?

You can safely skip verification by clicking the [X] next to a transfer when the copy part finishes.

My LTO device displays an error code. What does it mean?

Every LTO drive is essentially a computer, and as such follows its own instructions and error handling. Most drives have a single-character display (SCD) to tell you how it's doing. It's behind a black see-through panel so you won't see it except when booting (a countdown shows) or when an error is stated.

Anytime there is a number or letter visible on the front of your LTO drive, the software is not able to communicate with the drive. Refer to this list of SCD error codes to find out how to resolve the issue at hand:

As these are hardware errors, get in touch with your vendor to sort out the issue if needed.