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Clarifying high duty cycle

There was a question posted on May 23, regarding which tape drive technology would be best for a "high duty cycle" environment. You stated that LTO drives and enterprise class drives (9840, 9940) have similar MTBF ratings based on 100% duty cycle. Can you definitively say that the term "100% duty cycle" is an industry standard?

I have learned from different sources that for a mid-range drive such as an LTO or SDLT, a 100% duty cycle is based on eight hours of usage per day but enterprise class drives base their 100% duty cycle on 16 hours of usage per day. If it is true that duty cycle is an arbitrary term, how can a company effectively compare the reliability of various tape technologies?

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This sounds like FUD from a vendor. I cannot refute it, but I can't prove it either. I'd like to see a cite on that information. Since duty cycle is such an accepted term, I would think that a vendor that said it had a 100% duty cycle based on an eight-hour day would have to say so with an asterisk. The definition of duty cycle is "the percentage of time the unit is used". There are drives that claim less than a 100% duty cycle. AIT used to claim less than 100% but it appears that they now claim 100%.

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This was first published in July 2002

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