Backup Media - the whole story

Usually the backup media e.g. HP DLT tape drives support 30 years of life time if you store them in specific temperature conditon.For more details of garranty of getting data back still depends on individual vendor.

But the standard practice of HD check will give you much more informaiton on the status of your harddrive and bad sector checks are also important in this case

Following is some usefull text extract from some article

Media Manufacturing
Manufacturers of removable media typically build their media under rigorous process controls to guarantee that product specifications are met for durability and archival stability. Environmental and stress testing are two measures taken to assure that the product will withstand the test of time.
Significant research has been performed to determine the lifetime and archival stability of magnetic media. The National Media Laboratory (NML), 3M and Carnegie-Mellon University have performed joint and independent studies to assess chemical, thermal and archival stability of advanced metal particulate coatings, and results projected that magnetic media may reasonably be expected to have a lifetime of 15 to 30 years under normal usage conditions. These conclusions are based on magnetic performance only and do not take into account other factors, like handling and environmental conditions, that may affect media lifetime and archival stability.

Handling and Care of Tape Cartridges

Together with the hardware manufacturers, media manufacturers recommend the conditions under which tape cartridges should be handled, transported, stored and used, in order to ensure that the product will perform to standards over this 15- to 30-year time period. Data can be affected by environmental factors such as debris, high temperature or humidity, drastic temperature or humidity changes, and stray magnetic field sources, as well as improper handling of the cartridges by either operations personnel or by the hardware. If not properly handled, high-capacity tape cartridges are susceptible to damage due to the increased linear density, increased track density and subsequent positioning of the data and servo tracks closer to the edges of the tape.

Some basic rules for handling tape cartridges include:

  • Stack or carry no more than six cartridges at a time to minimize the risk of dropping the stack
  • Do not place cartridges that are dirty or damaged in a drive
  • Use the finger grips, if present, to carry a single cartridge
  • To prevent tape damage, do not remove leader blocks or open drive doors
  • Do not touch tape surfaces, as residue from a fingerprint can create greater head-to-tape separation and result in loss of signal (data)
  • Respond to drive messages for cleaning as directed, and only use cleaning cartridges recommended by the hardware provider
  • Assure that drives are maintained and serviced per the hardware manufacturer’s specifications.

Dropped Cartridges
If a half-inch tape cartridge is dropped, there is always a possibility that the media inside may have been damaged. Even if there is no visible evidence of damage on the outside of the cartridge, the cartridge’s life may be shortened. Tape-edge damage or misalignment of internal components, such as hub(s) and tape pack(s), may occur. This damage may not present itself initially, but may develop over time. For this reason, it is recommended that a procedure for retiring dropped cartridges be developed.

Transportation and Storage of Tape Cartridges
Proper packaging of cartridges for shipping is imperative to guarantee the life of the cartridge and the integrity of the data contained on it. Cartridges shipped with inadequate packaging could be damaged, which may result in data loss or reduced cartridge life.
The packaging itself should be strong enough to withstand shipping damage, not allow for cartridges to hit or rub against each other, minimize the internal forces within the package, not contaminate the cartridges, and be able to be used for repeated shipments without degradation of the packaging materials.

Article by

Sandip D. Moyal