SUMMARY: Shelf-life of Exabyte tapes?

From: David Mostardi (
Date: Thu Mar 17 1994 - 20:40:24 CST

I have a sizable archive of old Exabyte dumps
sitting in my safe. The tapes date back to 1988.
In all probability each tape was used just once.

If I decide that I don't need 1988-era dumps anymore,
is the tape medium reusable for a new level 0? In sum:
what is the shelf-life of an Exabyte data tape?


The consensus so far is that the *data* on the tapes
have a shelf life of about five years, but that the *tape*
itself will last for a much longer period. In other words,
the 1988-era tapes are at the end of their data lifespan,
but upon re-using them the new data would be good for
another five years.

One colleague spun a different yarn, however:
    We have tried a degaussing device, the mt erase command, but we find
    that the tapes do not reliably write. (That's not to say they don't
    work some times) but new tapes are very much more reliable.
Another suggested that old, crabby tapes might not be useful
for data anymore, but would be fine for video use.

Mark Thomas <> (Larry J. Miller) (Mark Becker)
Peter Allott <>
Everett Schell <>
Susan Thielen <>
alugcs@fnma.COM (Geoff Salinger) (John Justin Hough) (Derek Andow) (Oystein Haaland)

David Mostardi Email:
Network & Systems Administrator Phone: (510) 540-6400
Capital Market Technology, Inc. FAX: (510) 540-5505
1995 University Ave. #390, Berkeley CA 94704

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:08:58 CDT