Determining LTO 5 Tape Expiration?

Solution 1:

There is no expiration DATE as much as a recommended max number of "runs", which your software should count. And guess what - that depends on the TAPE. Look up the documentation for your tapes from - guess what - the manufacturer.

The official text says, for example: "Ultrium media is certified for 1 million passes or 260 full back ups and has a 30-year archival storage life."

Solution 2:

What I do is dump out the drive's log pages at the end of each read and write. Since we are producing tapes for long term archive this gives us the confidence that what we have written is good. If you go to the LTO drive manufacturers website you can download the SCSI reference manual. (From LTO7 , all drives manufactured by IBM) Under LOG SENSE you will find a definition of the log code pages which give a huge amount of information about the tape and the drive. We routinely monitor corrected and uncorrected error count which is a good indicator of degrading tape/drive and this is non-destructive. The HP and IBM diagnostics will do a reasonable job on testing drives/media. It's not just a question of the tapes , but more about the drives. The more worn the drive head is the more data correction you will get.