Why IBM Storage Media?

IBM understands that data is the lifeblood of any business. Data includes proprietary information and technology, as well as confidential information about your customers and employees. Data enables businesses to innovate. Data enables businesses to gain competitive advantage. And failure to properly safeguard that data can lead to business disruption, lost productivity, negative customer satisfaction, and penalties from regulatory violations. Furthermore data loss can hamper growth, undermine profitability and ultimately threaten the survival of your business. And with data doubling approximately every two years, it’s no wonder that today’s executives and compliance officers worry about how to secure and protect their data.

To help address these issues, IBM storage media solutions are designed to help reduce your costs while providing you with the assurance that your data is safe and secure. You see, IBM understands that when storing back up and archival information on tape, customers are committing vital information to a medium that can vary widely in both quality of the cartridge and quality of the tape media itself. That is why since 1952, IBM has continually raised the bar when it comes to tape storage and media innovation. We have created standards, supported standard and have been issued numerous patents to enhance standards.

With 60 years of tape storage innovation, it’s safe to say that few media suppliers if any have the depth of knowledge and experience that IBM has. This rich history of innovation enables us to continually raise the bar on protecting your data. IBM has established new benchmarks in storage media because we believe that superior media quality is one of its biggest differentiators especially when used with IBM tape hardware.

  • Cartridge design and the thickness of the plastics, vary from vendor to vendor. IBM branded 3592 media for example uses thick plastics and employs ultrasonic welding techniques to provide a solid homogenous weld.
  • The curved door on 3592 media is designed to prevent dust from entering the cartridge, helping to avoid debris build up, and the door spring, designed to support up to 250,000 load/unload cycles, works hand in hand with a leader pin design to help avoid stuck tape.
  • Tamper-proof screws on 3592 media, and cross-referencing the tape with the cartridge memory in WORM implementations are all examples of technologies used by IBM that are designed to provide significant protection against both accidental and intentional damage.

IBM tape drive technology and IBM media – A winning combination.

There are three specific technologies built into IBM 3592 and LTO tape drives that are designed to reduce media wear and tear.

  • Firstly, IBM tape drives use a flat lap head, designed to cushion the tape media as it passes over the head.
  • Secondly, IBM drives use surface control guiding to align the media as it passes over the head, instead of using side guides which can cause tape edge damage.
  • Thirdly, IBM tape drives have separate loader and threader motors so that the leader pin will be retained during a mis-pick.

IBM branded media is designed to take advantage of these hardware innovations to help prolong media life. In addition, IBM 3592 and LTO media is manufactured using an advanced slitting process designed to provide improved tape edge quality. This, combined with the air control flange built into the drive, can help reduce debris buildup.

IBM tests its media extensively on IBM tape drives and libraries.

  • Samples of the media are put through tests where the entire length of the media is run over the tape head testing servo quality, signal to noise ratio and Error Correction Code (ECC) activity.
  • IBM engages in extensive ongoing product evaluation and testing activities, to drive manufacturing and quality improvements. As an example of those activities, IBM has run sample media over tape heads up to 1.2 million times to test for durability. The data gathered from such extensive test activity provides us with the information we need to continually improve the reliability and durability of IBM branded tape products.
  • IBM also tests the cartridges in IBM tape libraries. We test LTO cartridges in every library from the IBM TS3100 Tape Library to our enterprise class TS3500 Tape Library. IBM test 3592 tape cartridges in the TS3500 and 3494 Tape Library as well as selected non-IBM libraries for which IBM tape drives are supported. In some instances we have performed over four million mounts to stress the entire solution.