Media Storage Solutions and Data Centre Backup Tapes

EDP Europe is a leading provider of media storage solutions for data centre backup tapes. In this Guide to Media Storage Solutions and Data Centre Backup Tapes we look at the history of backup tapes, what media storage solutions are available and how movement of backup tapes can be improved.

History of data centre backup tapes and why tape storage is important.

Since the creation of the computer there has been a need to backup up data, from the early punch cards to the latest LTO8 backup tapes. Ever increasing amounts of data need to be backed up and some form of tape storage is required to store these backup tapes.

EDP Europe has been a leading provider of media storage, archiving solutions and media identification labels since 1990 and has witnessed the evolution of magnetic media types from reel tapes to 3480 / 3590 cassettes to DLT and the latest LTO tapes. The need to correctly identify tapes and store them in a way that protects them from damage is vital. Media labels from Tri-Optic feature multiple ways of to identify tapes these include: catalogue number, colour coding, barcode, OCR font and now RFID tagging.  When the tapes are stored or archived in racking the colour coding helps identify misfiles as the eye can read colour and patterns faster and further and spots when a colour block is broken. Having a well-managed tape storage system not only protects the tapes from damage but colour coding reduces loss and misfiling.

Media Storage Solutions for Data Centre Backup Tapes
What different types of backup tape storage solutions are there?

There are many different types of backup storage solutions available, EDP Europe offers three main types:

  • Open Rack – Open Rack tape storage involves tapes being stored in specially designed packs that hold the tapes in place. Options available include the Maximiser rack, a single or double-sided rack that holds up to 30 packs per side. Packs are available for 3590 tapes (20 tapes per pack) or DLT / LTO tapes (16 tapes per pack). Then there’s the high-density MMEX (Multimedia Extreme) solution that has single sided or double sided base units, which can be expanded by the addition of sliding additional units for increased capacity. Each side of MMEX racking can store up to 768 LTO tapes.
  • Enclosed Cabinets – Enclosed cabinets are provided in the form of ProMedia Cabinets and Gemtrac from Russ Bassett. These backup tape storage solutions are ideal where more security is required as tapes are store in lockable, horizontal or vertical drawers for greater tape protection.
  • Transit Case – Transit cases enable tapes and other data storage devices to be stored in portable cases that enables them to be easily transported between sites. EDP Europe supplies transit cases from Turtle.
Secure magnetic tape storage in Russ Bassett media storage cabinets.

Russ Bassett media storage cabinets provide secure magnetic tape storage thanks to their lockable drawers.

Russ Bassett ProMedia media storage cabinets are available in three different heights and provide LTO magnetic tape storage for up to 1,560 tapes. Each ProMedia cabinet is 36” (914mm) wide and 24” (610mm) deep. The three heights are 29” (737mm), 39” (991mm) and 56” (1,422mm). Depending on whether the tapes are store in jewel cases affects the capacity which ranges from 600 to 1,560 tapes. Drawer interlocks prevent more than one drawer from being opened for safety, while heavy duty slides provide smooth movement.

For higher density secure tape storage there is the Russ Bassett Gemtrac. Two cabinets stand opposite each over with an inter-connecting track at the top on which the pull-out vertical drawers run. Tapes are stored within each drawer on shelves providing storage for 5,120 LTO tapes.

What media storage solutions are best for an LTO tape library?

An LTO tape library can vary in size, so there are a number of media storage solutions available. Some LTO tape libraries are automated and are capable of selecting the desired tape.  For a manual LTO library any of EDP Europe’s open rack or enclosed cabinet media storage solutions can be utilised to great effect. For low level LTO media storage solutions the EDP Maximiser rack or Russ Bassett ProMedia cabinets can provide an ideal solution. Where higher levels of tape storage are required the EDP MMEX system with its optional sliders, or the Russ Bassett Gemtrac system provide a high-density media storage solution and can be configured to store thousands of LTO tapes.

How Turtle case helps move backup magnetic tapes to offsite tape storage facilities.

Turtle transit cases are specially designed to move backup magnetic tapes to offsite tape storage facilities. Moving tapes between facilities requires careful handling to ensure that the tapes or other magnetic backup devices, such as hard drives, are not damaged, corrupted or lost. Turtle cases are purposely designed for the storage and transportation of backup magnetic tapes. Most Turtle cases utilise a double wall construction that absorbs impact reducing shock to tapes. This construction also provides insulation from external temperature changes, mechanical loads and minimises the effects of stray magnetic fields. The seal on Turtle cases also prevents the ingress of dirt and moisture, with ATA certified waterproof cases also available.

How RFID asset management software and RFID tag technology aids data storage media tape movement.

With strict regulations in place regarding data storage and its security, media tape movement needs to be conducted in a secure way with improved traceability. RFID tag technology, along with RFID asset management software help improve data storage media tape movement by knowing the exact movements of individual tapes.

Tapes are fitted with labels containing an RFID tag, this tag contains a unique reference to identify the item that it is applied to. The tag’s information is stored within the RFID asset management software, along with details relating to the media tape it is applied to. Fixed and mobile readers ‘read’ the tag and record the information which is downloaded to the software. Fixed readers positioned in doorways can identify when a tape enters or leaves a room, whilst handheld mobile readers can be used to carry out audits. The handheld reader also has the ability to locate misplaced tapes helping to reduce the risk of lost data. EDP Europe’s EnaSys RFID asset management software packages AssetTrak & EnaSys Express make the process of asset tracking & management, inventory control, and audits easier and more efficient.

Product Solutions For Data Centres
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