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How long should tape last?

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Ted Flanders
Frequent Advisor

How long should tape last?

I am using HPC5707A DDS-2 8gb Data Cartridges for my nightly back up. I rotate them in a series of 10. Each tape has been used 32 times. I have been having problems getting a backup at night recently. The last error was "cant open /dev/tty to prompt for more media". My support person said that she thinks that the tapes are going bad. I notice that the "clean" light is flashing every morning on the tape drive, the flashing is recently new too. Any ideas for me? Thanks
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Edward Alfert_2
Respected Contributor
Solution

Re: How long should tape last?

I use tapes once/month and change them every 2 years. (so they are used 24 times before i discard them)

If the tape light is flashing it means it is detecting error and either needs cleaning (how often have you used the same cleaning tape? maybe get a new one).. the other possibility is that the tapes are bad... or worse, the tape drive is bad. I have had to swap a tape drives in the past year from a D390.. I used brand new tape, brand new cleaning tape, and it still failed. replaced the tape drive and everything works.

hopefully you have a support agreement, if not it will cost you some. hopefully that isn't it.
"Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life." - Confucius
Bernie Vande Griend
Respected Contributor

Re: How long should tape last?

My experience is about a couple dozen times and they start flaking out. I'm sure you know this, but since you didn't mention it, make sure you are using a cleaning tape as well at least once a month. If you haven't done it for awhile, run one through several times to see if it helps.
Ye who thinks he has a lot to say, probably shouldn't.
A. Clay Stephenson
Acclaimed Contributor

Re: How long should tape last?

I suppose one answer to your question is OmniBack's default value for the number of overwrites before the media is considered bad - 100. The default media retention period is 36 months. In real life, I have restored data from DDS tapes older and that have seen that much usage. In any eveny, I would suggest that
100 uses is reasonable.

In your case, you really, really need to run a cleaning cartridge through your drives perhaps two or three times. If that fails, I would have the drive replaced.

Clay
If it ain't broke, I can fix that.
Ted Flanders
Frequent Advisor

Re: How long should tape last?

I run a cleaning tape on the drive once per week. HP tells me not to do it so much that it is bad on the heads, but that is because we have a support contract and they dont want to have to replace it more often. I have ran a new cleaning tape on the drive over and over, and still get the clean light flashing in the mornings. I think I will just get the drive replaced.
Edward Alfert_2
Respected Contributor

Re: How long should tape last?

yes, do that... you you have to run the cleaning tape daily, then it is time to replace the drive...

By the way... thanks for the points!!! you just put me over the top to pro level... thanks.
"Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life." - Confucius
Carlos Fernandez Riera
Honored Contributor

Re: How long should tape last?

Not easy to respond.

Tapes will be degraded with use, and it depend of use. Generaly after about 60 writes DDS2 will be degraded. If you have not noticed a great amonunt of new data in your backups, it means that your tapes are degraded, and must be replaced.

The method i use to detect that tapes is based on tape capacity reported by drive.

See: http://forums.itrc.hp.com/cm/QuestionAnswer/1,1150,0x298bee3e323bd5118fef0090279cd0f9,00.html

Compare values of a new tape with your tapes.

32 times used is a sort number. Degradation can be caused by poor transfer rate. See any manual for DDS drives for recomended procedures.


Regards.

unsupported
Thierry Poels_1
Honored Contributor

Re: How long should tape last?

Hi,

1. I think 100 times is a good standard. (sooner if you get tape errors)

2. DDS-drives need to be cleaned very regularly. Only DLT-drives should only be cleaned if cleaning led is on. DLT cleaning cartridges do a heavy job on the reading heads.

3. Personally I try to use a large amount of backup tapes. This result in the possibility to recover files from many days ago. So instead of replacing the tapes rapidly, the whole set can be used for a larger period.

regards,
Thierry.
All unix flavours are exactly the same . . . . . . . . . . for end users anyway.