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Managing removable media in networked environments

By Linda Gail Christie

Are you still tracking your off-line media on a spreadsheet? Are you doing this because you don't think there is a solution for managing removable media for open-system, multi-platform networks? Well, prepare to join the mainframe crowd by upgrading your tape management solution.

Michael Kramer, VP of marketing and sales for B&L Associates, a 25-year-old provider of enterprise data center solutions, says that now that servers house mission critical data, it's vital for companies to not only back them up but also deploy a robust solution for managing and tracking off-line media inventory.

"When media leaves the control of online storage systems, the potential for it getting misplaced, lost, or inadvertently reused is much greater," said Kramer. "Media management controls the movement, retention, and inventorying of physical tapes, CDs, and other media from any source - making sure that they can be easily located and returned online at the appropriate time and place."

According to Kramer, Vertices from B&L, for example, provides vault management, retention management, relationship processing, virtual media handling, purge protection, security, and inventory control. "With Vertices, data center administrators receive proactively generated lists telling them what tapes were generated during the day, what tapes need to move and where, and what tapes need to come back," Kramer said. "It also helps track the tape lifecycle: to purge tapes for reuse, prevent using worn out media, and ensure that historical data is transferred to new media before tapes deteriorate."

By combining a media management system with barcode scanning to identify specific media, Kramer noted that this type of media management system could substantially improve your ability to track off-line business critical data and ensure your ability to recover from a disaster.

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About the author: Storage management tips are written by Linda Gail Christie, a contributing editor based in Tulsa, Okla.

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