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A Nice Primer on Tape Management

by on November 17, 2008

I received this article from InfoStor in my email a few days ago, and, I think, the article presents a nice primer on tape media management for small companies.  The first part of the article focuses on (perhaps a bit too much) the importance of how the tapes are physically handled, mentioning:

“One common problem is edge damage. If a tape is dropped, the edges of the media could get crimped. With older linear tape products, the edges served as servo tracks (a track that allows the tape drive head to stay aligned with the tape) so it was possible that media errors could result because the head could no longer “stay on track.” LTO eliminated this issue by means of a series of pre-recorded servo tracks, and is relatively impervious to handling damage.”

Of course, my interest centers more on how those tapes (and the information they contain) are tracked and protected. That’s why I thought the tips this article offered on creating a successful backup and restore plan were well thought out and a good start for growing companies wrestling with tape management for the first time.

“Combining a backup-and-restore plan with the tips below can help ensure your data will be accessible in the future, even if disaster strikes. A tape-based backup and restore plan will depend on a number of factors:

  • How often does your company need to refer to its data? If you need to refer to yesterday’s data, a daily tape rotation would work best.
  • How valuable is your data? The more valuable the data, the more often you should back up and move tape media off-site.
  • When you use tape cartridges to back up your files, be sure to follow a regular tape backup rotation.
  • Make sure that all tapes are uniquely identified.
  • Use specifically identified tapes for incremental backups, and use other tapes for each of the weekly backups. Use yet another set of tapes for monthly backups, rotating these each month. Then store the long-term archival tapes at a secure off-site location as part of a disaster recovery and business continuity program.”

B&L wrote a great whitepaper on managing tape media in a networked environment. It talks about the importance of addressing both the management and technical issues involved in order to be successful.

You should check it out when you get a chance.

And when you do, please email me and let me know what you think.

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