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Tape Libraries and Drives
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LTO-3 Drive Cleanings

Michael Day

LTO-3 Drive Cleanings

I have 4 HP-LTO-3 tape drives in my StorageTek SL8500 library. The library has been in service now for about 1.5 yrs. Since I use Netbackup 5.1 and the SL8500 is connected via an ACSLS Sun server I have to rely upon the drives to tell the ACSLS when to request a cleaning. The drives are in use on average about 15 hours a day 7 days a week

Not once has any drive requested a cleaning. I've ensured that the ACSLS is configured properly to receive cleaning requests and have asked the StorageTek/Sun tech over and over again to ensure the drives are configured properly but after 1.5 years still no cleanings. I’ve even asked that they simulate a cleaning request so at least I could test that it would mount a cleaning tape but the technician’s state this cannot be done.

Is this normal? Every drive has been replaced over time about 1-3 times due to various problems. A few times it was obvious and tapes were stuck in the drives. Other times it was not as obvious and they just replaced the drives if they could not get them to work properly. About 2 months ago two drives failed on the same day ... but the technician could not explain why but he replaced both drives.

I’ve worked with LTO-1’s and various DLT drives over the last 10 years and I’ve always cleaned those every 100 – 200 hours of use. Are LTO-3 drives that much better where they don’t require any cleanings … or very very infrequent cleanings?

Mike Day
Marek Nelec
Honored Contributor

Re: LTO-3 Drive Cleanings

Hello Michael

I've also worked over the last 10 years with all kind of tape drives. Some of them had internal counters that triggered cleaning request after several hundred hours. I've learned form IBM and HP guys that their LTO products have optimized mechanisms with quite efficient cleaning capabilities, so the drives does not require regular cleanings. So I guess you don't have to worry.You can find some more info here:

hope this helps
Michael Day

Re: LTO-3 Drive Cleanings

Sure does ... thanks for the info and the link!