The War of the Wear (March 1997)

Tape wear is presented by competing vendors as a market differentiator – IBM stresses the inherent advantage of linear recording, but StorageTek does not agree..

IBM make great play in their marketing strategy of the simplicity of the linear tape drive. They claim that the complex tape path involved in helical scan recording causes excessive head wear, and potential damage to the tape. They further argue that in the the Magstar, the tape is not even in physical contact with the head, reducing wear on head and tape alike. StorageTek retort that an independent study be researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has shown that the Data D-3 media used in the Redwood cartridge "meets or exceeds the life of existing high-end data recording technologies". Other tests involved baking the tape in a high humidity environment, and a "shoe shine test" involving destructive testing by reading, reversing and re-reading the media. Results of this test showed reliability in excess of 20,000 passes. A final gruelling test involved stopping the tape while the scanning head continues to rotate, with the tape under tension. Data loss was only observable after some 40 hours of this torture.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to with PDM_V_2.0_199703_5 as the subject.

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.