New tape formats are bigger, faster & safer


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WORM tape
Though relatively small, the demand for WORM tape is growing. Suppliers of LTO and SAIT say their WORM tape sales are between 2% and 5%, while Sony reports that sales of its SAIT WORM tape accounted for 7% to 9% of its total tape sales in the last six months.

Tape vendors implement WORM technology in very different ways. DLTtape S4 and SDLT 600 tape formats don't require a special tape cartridge to store data in a WORM format, and users can enable the WORM feature on existing tapes. Quantum's DLTIce software option puts an unalterable electronic key on each tape to ensure that data on the tape can't be altered. Once the key is applied to the tape, data may be written or appended to the tape, but not deleted or overwritten. The main downside to this approach is the lack of a WORM option for older DLT formats like DLT VS160 or SDLT 320. It may also be more difficult to keep track of how many tapes are reserved for WORM in your environment because WORM data and normal data are both stored on the same type of tape.

Other tape formats require special WORM-enabled tape cartridges. Users of Sun's 9840, 9940 and StorageTek T10000 tape formats need to purchase tapes with its StorageTek VolSafe option; these tapes may be used in any of Sun's tape drives, assuming the drives have the proper microcode to use the VolSafe option. LTO tape users may face a double whammy as only LTO-3 tapes support WORM; in addition to needing special

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WORM tapes, users may also need to upgrade to LTO-3 tape drives.

This was first published in May 2006

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