SUMMARY: request for hardware advice - tape unit

From: <>
Date: Thu Mar 24 2005 - 03:15:59 EST
Many thanks to those who responded to my questions.  Tom Grassia and Michael
Horton both said equipment can go bad just sitting around and getting old,
even if it's not being used.  Joe Fletcher and JV both provided useful
information about potential replacement equipment.


What's the chance you can switch from exabyes to SDLT?
Reason I ask is that the helical scan technologies used in
Exabytes are mechanically inferior to the linear stuff.
Exabytes and DATs are fundamentally more sensitive to head
alignment issues, tape distortions, thermal effects etc.


8mm tapes are not very reliable in general. They are NOT rated for
re-use over so many times.

Check the manufacturer's website for "rated for number of passes".
here is a handy summary article:

At our shop, we re-use DLT IV like 500 times and LTO media can be
reused 10000+ times. 8mm we destroy the media after 50 passes,
because the tapes CAN and HAVE failed us in our data center daily
practice. Any exposure to heat, shock, or airborne sand/dust lessens
their life span.

If money is your biggest problem, you may consider something like AIT
media. I think your HW is too old and needs to be serviced by the

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
Subject: request for hardware advice - tape unit
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 10:11:15 +0100
> I have a SUNBlade 100, Solaris 8 operating system, two
> Ultra-SCSI cards.  I have been having a lot of problems
> with my backups to tape in the last month. I tried
> installing replacement tape units (all are Exabyte 8505XL
> - one a newer model with a wide SCSI connector).  The
> backups worked okay on the replacement units for a couple
> of days, but then they started failing.  I cleaned the
> drives and still have problems.  These units are really
> old and had not been used at all for more than five years
> and had never been used very much at all even before that
> because our backups had been done over the network until
> about a year and half ago.  Since none of these drives
> were ever used very much, I feel surprised that none of
> them seem to work properly. Currently only the newest unit
> with the wide SCSI connector is sort of functioning, but
> backups that were set up to be done overnight usually have
> to be done manually in the morning because of I/O errors.
> I have a whole load of new tapes, but it has been my
> experience that new tapes often don't work very well on
> the first try, so maybe the new tapes are aggravating the
> problem.  In any case, I am feeling desperate and am
> wondering if a new tape drive might be the best solution.
> I have a lot of still unused 8mm tapes and would kind of
> prefer to go with something reliable that uses 8mm tapes
> as these are not very expensive.  We don't have a big
> operation here.  The backups on weekdays only require 112m
> tape (5.0 GB), and for the weekend backup I use a 160m
> tape (7.0 GB).   I would be very grateful for any advice
> and recommendations that anyone with more experience might
> have, including getting my current tape drives to work
> properly.

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Received on Thu Mar 24 03:16:56 2005

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