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Vol. 7 No. 6 August 2008

Ask the Experts: Tape media failure

Q: Is there a way to anticipate tape media failures? A. This is one of the big drawbacks of tape. In my experience, there's usually very little warning before a tape ruins your day. The best way to anticipate a failure is if you check your backup logs and/or tape drive message logs daily for errors or bad sense codes. The other way is if you know that a tape has been manhandled. In one situation, I saw systemic tape errors on hundreds of tapes. It was related to "edge damage" where the servo track was crimped, resulting in the tape head not tracking properly. The damaged tapes were rendered effectively useless, and it had been caused not by a manufacturing defect, but when a stack of tapes fell over. Issues such as these, in addition to the loss of tapes, wear-and-tear and seek/mount times, is why backup to disk and deduplication to disk are becoming more viable alternatives than tape. --Ashley D'Costa, enterprise solutions architect, Mainland Information Systems Inc.

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Features in this issue

  • Lights, camera, storage!

    by  Deni Connor

    The digital media business and corporate multimedia departments are looking at increasing terabytes and even petabytes of information generated in the creation, editing, archiving and distribution of digital content. In addition, the move to high-definition television and higher resolution camera work will tax storage boundaries.

  • Quality Awards IV: It's a tie--EMC and NetApp share enterprise array honors

    In the four years we've conducted our Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Award for enterprise arrays, we've never had co-winners ... until now. EMC Corp. rode to the top on very strong scores in the product features and reliability sections, while co-winner NetApp was a model of consistency.

  • Reliability questions plague solid state

Columns in this issue

  • Storage Bin 2.0: The life and death of information

    We sometimes complicate our processes to create a perception of increased value. Forget information lifecycle management and tiered storage; concentrate on the four simple stages of life for any kind of information.

  • Get your iSCSI game on: Best Practices

    by  Ashish Nadkarni

    iSCSI is a mature protocol for accessing storage and a solid alternative to Fibre Channel. Technologies such as blade servers and server virtualization benefit from iSCSI as it lets you minimize the number of connections required. And because everything is IP-based, there's no more need to waste slots for host bus adapters, which simplifies your configuration.

  • The big pipe: Editorial

  • Backup gets a boost: Hot Spots

    by  Lauren Whitehouse

    Snapshots, continuous data protection and deduplication are making their way into traditional backup products. By capturing, transferring and storing less data in the backup process, organizations can back up more data to disk--retaining data on disk for longer periods of time or enabling disk-to-disk backup for more sets of data than before.

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