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Tape media life expectancy

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Regular Advisor

Tape media life expectancy

Hi Folks,

The information that I am looking might be somewhere here in this forum already, but I can't seem to make a hit when I do a search, so I'll just ask as well:

We currently are looking into how we can optimize our tape usage, LTO-2 specifically. Currently, some of our backup tapes are being used maybe only 2-5 times, then we store it on a commersial offsite storage provedire for 10 years, as per client requirements. However, it has been written in one of our SOP documents that after 3 years, these tapes needs to be transferred to a new tape to be sure that data reliability is still there.

My question now is, is there any existing documentation/white paper detailing how long can tape media actually lasts, specifically LTO-2 tapes?

I know that a lot of factors affects these, i.e. # of passes, storage temp and humidity, so hopefully it is also documented.

Thanks for your help in advance!
Valued Contributor

Re: Tape media life expectancy


LTO Ultrium tape technology uses a "best of breed" technology approach, taking the best features from other tape technologies and combining them into a single new technology without the need for design compromises to accommodate legacy compatibility requirements. Designed for the demanding environment of large-scale libraries, Ultrium media is certified for 1 million passes or 260 full back ups and has a 30-year archival storage life.

for more info Specifications

might help you....
Amol Garge
Trusted Contributor

Re: Tape media life expectancy

Media Life
First, make sure that the cartridges life has not been exceeded. A guideline to cartridge life for Ultrium is 260 full volume back ups. However the ability to achieve consistent cartridge performance and reliability depends on the following factors:
Operating, storing and archiving in consistent appropriate temperatures and humidity
Well packaged transportation process.
Operating habits
Retirement strategy

I found a couple of docs:


Regular Advisor

Re: Tape media life expectancy

Thanks for the quick replies guys! Just great! These are the documents that I was just trying to look for!