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back to article SpectraLogic adds tape 'validation' to fight silent decay peril

Silent decay: it's the nightmare hinted at by drive array vendors when they talk about tape libraries. How do you know the restore is going to work, they ask? Some don't. Tape is generally being relegated from acting as a backup medium – a role now taken over by disk-drive-based backup data – to acting as archival storage. It is …

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Lot of trouble for nothing

"...it periodically and proactively checks tape cartridges in its libraries to ensure they can be read..."

It will read fine until it is urgently needed for a restore. Murphy's law says so.

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But, But...

"...it periodically and proactively checks tape cartridges in its libraries to ensure they can be read..."

Doesn't that wear out the tape?

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(Not so) fond memories

I remember in my first job having to book out all the "A" group 8" floppies from the media store and run them through a program that read them, validated the contents and then re-wrote them to guard against fade. The next year, all the "B" group disks were done...

Probably there is a poor sod there still doing it, hoping that the 8" floppy drive or the microvax doesn't kick the bucket because then they wouldn't know what to do :)

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Happy

The idea of regular tape cartridge health checks is so obvious that

it's taken HOW MANY years for someone to think of it?

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Go

But...

All their doing is "automating" a process that was (should have been!) done manually already. Of course, as mentioned, since the tapes are "archived" "off-site" rather than in the tape library, you have to ship them back to the Co. for validation...on a regular schedule...and insert them manually....hrm. Well, there's a lot to be said for having two backups: one for on site, and one for off....

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Grenade

One small problem

As mentioned in the article, tape is now primarily an *archival* medium, which means that the tapes are usually stored offsite. The only way to validate the tapes therefore is to periodically recall them and run them through the tape library for analysis. Sounds fun!

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