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Tape Drive - Frequently Asked Questions


What can be the causes of Tape Failure?

How long my tape can survive?

What can be the precautionary measure to Tape Failure?

What are the different type of Tape Recovery?

What are the ways to minimize the chances of a tape backup's failing?

Is there any sign or alert messages before Tape Failure?

What is Tape deterioration?

Is it possible to recover deteriorated tape?

What is Tape Vaulting?

Is there any sort of Backup Plan which can be helpful in protecting Tape Data in Disaster Situation?


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What can be the causes of Tape Failure?

There are numerous ways which can cause Tape Failure as below:

  • Natural causes
  • Accidental damage
  • Environmental damage
  • Winding errors

How long my tape can survive?

The most commonly figure for the archival life of magnetic tape is 30 years. Even in an era of heightened concern about compliance and records retention, that is long enough to make storage administrators comfortable.

What can be the precautionary measure to Tape Failure?

  • Use more than one drive
  • Make sure that it works
  • Write protect your tapes
  • Read your backup logs
  • Use more than one tape
  • Use plenty of tapes
  • Keep off-site backups
  • Keep abreast of technology

What are the different type of Tape Recovery?

There are primarily two recovery types - Physical and Logical.

Physical Data Recovery is necessary when there is a physical problem with the media or plastics which prevents the data from being read normally. This type of recovery may include dealing with issues such as deteriorating magnetic coatings, cracked or broken reels/cartridge shells, creased tape edges, twisted or folded tape, stretched or broken tape, etc.

Logical Data Recovery is typically the most difficult, and consequently, the most expensive. Recovering files logically includes recovering the data portion of a tape that was successfully recorded, but for some unknown reason cannot be read.

What are the ways to minimize the chances of a tape backup's failing?

  • Verify your backups
  • Store one backup tape off site
  • Store your tapes properly
  • Rotate tapes
  • Track the expiry date
  • Maintain your equipment

Is there any sign or alert messages before Tape Failure?

A "tape alert" message is a critical, warning, or informational alert that occurs due to a tape drive or robotic library hardware event. These "tape alert" messages are stored on the tape drive.

What is Tape deterioration?

Because of parity, information all data are available in case one of the disks fails. If extra disks are available, then reconstruction will begin immediately after the device failure. However if two hard disks fail at same time, all data are LOST. In short RAID can survive one disk failure, but not two or more.

Is it possible to recover deteriorated tape?

Recovery of deteriorated tape is an intricate process, works on one problem may well destroy, or at least exacerbate a seemingly similar problem. Sticky tape can be caused by binder breakdown, lubricant loss and exuding, or problems with the backing. Don't assume that all problems are the same just because they create similar complications. When carrying out any actions that might reasonably be irreversible.

What is Tape Vaulting?

Vaulting backup tapes guarantees that backup data does not suffer the same fate as primary data when a disaster strikes. Basic vaulting of tape data is as simple as sending backups offsite for storage at a secure location.

Is there any sort of Backup Plan which can be helpful in protecting Tape Data in Disaster Situation?

Onsite Tape Storage Storing tapes that will be used for Disaster Recovery in an onsite tape library. The risk of losing Disaster Recovery data along with the application data is too great. Unless backup tapes are taken offsite for safe storage, the recovery of an application after a disaster is left completely to chance.

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