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How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

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Rui Vilao
Regular Advisor

How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Greetings,

I have a library with 40 cartridges and a cleaning cartridge.
The tapes were bought on Mar 2003. Lately we are getting more errors
one backups.

My question is how often should these tapes (data and cleaning) be replaced?

Any help/suggestion is highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Kind Regards,

Rui Vilao.
"We should never stop learning"_________ rui.vilao@rocketmail.com
9 REPLIES
JohnWRuffo
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

The official text says: "Ultrium media is certified for 1 million passes or 260 full back ups and has a 30-year archival storage life."

That said, it would seem you should be able to have one tape last almost a full year of daily backups before seeing media errors.
Enjoy!
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Abdul Rahiman
Esteemed Contributor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Ruil,
LTO and most of the other latest tape technologies for that matter are made to be used for more than few years. So I think in your case getting errors on tapes which are slightly older than an year is abnormal.
If you are getting backup errors, first thing to check would be the drives themselves to see if they are showing any hard errors. Also make sure that the cleaning cartridge used is clearly marked for each use and is not used more than the number of allowed uses.

However, the durability of the tape cartridges again depends on the quality of the originals .. in otherwords, it depends a lot on the manufacturer also. Check the manufactures specs. for the max. number of passes the tapes are expected to keep. Usually it is in millions of passes. that would mean thousands of uses (considering multiple passes for a backup). Below is a sample document from Fuji about their LTO tape durability.
http://www.fujifilmmediasource.com/specs/new/lto/ltolife00.pdf

regds,
Abdul.
No unix, no fun
Leif Halvarsson_2
Honored Contributor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Hi,
About Cleaning tapes.

LTO drives should not be cleaned unless the drive request for it. Is it possible to configure your library or backup software for automatic cleaning ?

All unnecessary drive cleaning will only cause head wear and, maybe after some time, more backup errors.

Dave Dewar
Trusted Contributor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Hi,

HP LTO will only actually make use of the cleaning tape if it is inserted when they have issued a cleaning request. They do this to stop unnecessary head wear.

Since your tapes are a year old, your cleaning cartridge might be all used up now, depending on usage, something to check.

Data tapes have a spec of 1,000,000 passes. However, since this is linear serpentine recording, a backup will result in multiple passes over a single area of media, a figure of 200 backup/restores is usually a sensible limit but in many cases the tapes will last much longer.

An easy way to determine whether you backup failures are media related is to check whether you only see them on certain tapes or certain drives.

Depending on library type, you can setup automatic cleaning, MSL and ESL libraries support this.

Cheers,

Dave Dewar
Rui Vilao
Regular Advisor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

First of all, many thanks to all contributorsâ ¦

I have checked, I am getting on average one CRC error each week during the weekend backup. These errors occur on different drives of the library (StorageTek L40). May be the three drives need to be replacedâ ¦

Concerning the cleaning tape, it was originally configured with auto-clean (library driven). The support engineer has changed this setting (from the OS level we had no idea if a cleaning job had ever run) and created a Backup Exec jobs that run monthly on each DRIVE. Is this too much?

I have checked, a SEAGATE LTO cartridge is designed to perform 50 cleanings. May be we should plan to replace the cleaning cartridge?

TIA,

Kind Regards,

Rui
"We should never stop learning"_________ rui.vilao@rocketmail.com
Kurt Beyers.
Honored Contributor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Rui,

An LTO tape has it own small memory called the memory cartridge. The cleaning tape itself will keep track of how often it was used. If the upper limit of usage has exceeded, the librry itself will tell you that the cleaning tape should be replaced.

Kurt
Rui Vilao
Regular Advisor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Hi Kurt,

Do you know if this works also when the cleaning jobs are scheduled by a Backup Software (e.g. Backup Exec) rather than by the library itself (auto-clean feature)?

Thanks,

Kind Regards,

Rui Vilao.
"We should never stop learning"_________ rui.vilao@rocketmail.com
JohnWRuffo
Honored Contributor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

Depending on your library (if your are using the MSL6030 for example; an expired media will be prompted by a pop up on the GUI "FSC 5015" - Media Expired). Most of the stand alone tape drives will accept the cleaning media and then quickly spit it back out (if the media is expired) leaving the cleaning LED still lit.
Enjoy!
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Mi_Su
Occasional Contributor

Re: How often should LTO tapes be replaced?

There is following comment on above reply message.

The official text says: "Ultrium media is certified for 1 million passes or 260 full back ups and has a 30-year archival storage life."

Is it right?
Where can I get this official text?