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When tape becomes mission critical: A white paper. (Tape/Disk/Optical Storage).

The data storage industry typically thinks of disk storage as the sole repository for mission critical data. In most circumstances this is true. However, when mission critical data on disk can't be accessed for any of a growing number of reasons, the primary source of the mission critical data most often switches to tape storage. At this point, tape becomes mission critical.


The magnetic tape industry is beginning its third era since the first successful tape drive appeared in 1952. After 35 years of manual tape operations and 15 years of automated au·to·mate  
v. au·to·mat·ed, au·to·mat·ing, au·to·mates
1. To convert to automatic operation: automate a factory.

 robotic ro·bot·ic
Relating to, characteristic of, or employing robots.
 tape handling, the tape industry is moving into the era of intelligent tape. Now a $7 billion and growing worldwide market including drives, media and automated libraries, the tape industry has more than a dozen different recording formats and nearly 15 automated tape library suppliers. Over 80 percent of the world's digital data is stored on removable storage, most of which is on magnetic tape technology. Tape cartridge See cartridge.  capacities are targeted to surpass two terabytes in five years given currently identified recording density improvements. The automated tape market revenues are expected to grow between 5 and 10 percent annually through 2005 as disaster recovery issues and archival data requirements mount. Many new digital applications are beginning to take advantage of the new ultra-high tape capacities, throughput rates Throughput rate is an obsolete term[1] in the terminology of automated chemical analysis. It may mean either:
  • Input rate
  • Output rate

1. ^ International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. "throughput rate".
, and features. Embedded Inserted into. See embedded system.  disk caching, tape arrays, logical WORM (write-once-read-many), and more intelligent cartridges
  • List of rifle cartridges
  • List of handgun cartridges
  • Table of pistol and rifle cartridges
  • List of cartridges by caliber
 provide large-capacity automated tape storage reservoirs typically at less than one-fourth to one-tenth the cost of magnetic disk storage. Tape remains the primary data recovery technology for data centers worldwide.

A Critical Component

Often overlooked and taken for granted Adj. 1. taken for granted - evident without proof or argument; "an axiomatic truth"; "we hold these truths to be self-evident"
axiomatic, self-evident

obvious - easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind; "obvious errors"
 in the tape industry and one of the most critical components of any automated tape library is the machine readable Data in a form that can be read by the computer, which includes disks, tapes and punch cards. Printed fonts that can be scanned and recognized by the computer are also machine readable. , bar coded tape label. This high-resolution, state-of-the-art media identification system sits in the critical path of any data access or recovery action from an automated tape library. Tape labels have evolved to address the increasing role of tape storage. What if the label can't be read? If the tape label can't be read, the data can't be restored and the value of losing access to this data can be enormous for most businesses.

Recent data indicates that 44 percent of data loss is caused by either hardware or systems failure, 32 percent is caused by human error, and 14 percent from software and program error. What is the potential impact of not being able to recover data from a tape cartridge that contains critical data? The value in terms of lost revenue for an hour's outage out·age  
1. A quantity or portion of something lacking after delivery or storage.

2. A temporary suspension of operation, especially of electric power.
 for selected applications is listed in the chart at the bottom of the page.

Not All Tape Labels are Created Equal

Tape cartridge labels contain a very precise barcode that has been carefully engineered by the tape library manufacturers to ensure a "first time -- every time" read of the cartridge (1) See phono cartridge.

(2) A removable storage module that contains magnetic disks, optical discs, magnetic tape or memory chips. Cartridges are inserted into slots in the drive, printer or computer.

This level of precision is now mandatory given the increasing value of digital data and requires the highest resolution computer-generated bar codes possible that also carry a lifetime guarantee. Presently, the most reliable and safest way to obtain these tape library manufacturer approved labels is from factory-authorized sources. These professional label printers, such as EDP/Colorflex, have state-of-the-art label printing, die cutting and laminating lam·i·nate  
v. lam·i·nat·ed, lam·i·nat·ing, lam·i·nates
1. To beat or compress into a thin plate or sheet.

2. To divide into thin layers.

 technologies that maintain the tight tolerances required by today's automated tape libraries. Though a few "print your own" labeling solutions are available, they can't ensure the bar code precision and alignment necessary to guarantee proper cartridge access, increasing the risk of not being able to read the label at a critical time; nor can they provide a lifetime guarantee of the label printed. This is a risk that most businesses can't afford to take. As data becomes more valuable every day, the need to provide high-availability storage systems has never bee n more important. Backup is important -- recovery is critical. Ensuring that the tape cartridge label can be read correctly should not be compromised. Use only a certified See certification.  label provider to ensure the tape cartridge accessibility required by today's businesses Today's Business is a show on CNBC that aired in the early morning, 5 to 7AM ET timeslot, hosted by Liz Claman and Bob Sellers, and it was replaced by Wake Up Call on Feb 4, 2002. .
The Cost of Downtime

Industry Sector           Revenue/Hour  Revenue/Employee-Hour

  Energy                  $2,817,846    $539
  Telecommunications      $2,066,245    S186
  Manufacturing           $1,610,654    $134
  Financial Institutions  $1,495,134    $1,079
  Insurance               $1,202,444    $371
  Retail                  $1,107,274    $244
  Pharmaceuticals         $1,082,252    $168
  Banking                 $996,802      $131
  Utilities               $643,250      $381
  Health Care             $636,030      $143
  Average - All Sectors   $1,010,536    $205

Source: META Group
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Author:Moore, Fred
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Article Type:Industry Overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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