Today I’d like to provide you with some tips to help you avoid costly tape drive breakdowns and data loss.

In general, tape drives are robust and reliable. However, common mistakes can dramatically increase the chance of tape drive failure.

Firstly, don’t overwork your drive. Tape drives have a specified duty cycle, which is an indication of the workload a drive can endure day in, day out. While a drive with a duty cycle of 100% may operate continuously with no ill-effects, a drive with a duty cycle of 50% should not be operated for more than 12 hours a day.

Secondly, make sure your system is supplying data to the drive at a sufficient rate. If data transfer to the drive is significantly slower than the drive’s data transfer rate, the tape drive will suffer from start-stop motion as it waits for more data to arrive. It’s easy to imagine the wear-and-tear this places on the tape, and how the integrity of data on the tape can be severely degraded.

Thirdly, poor handling and storage can affect the lifespan of tapes and drives. Be careful not to drop tapes when carrying them, and storing tapes in a sturdy fire-proof safe will keep them out of harm’s way. As an added precaution, take tapes off-site periodically so that a backup always exists at a second location. When operating tape drives, keep them away from carpets and other sources of contaminants.

I hope you find this information useful, and that you’re enjoying using BackupAssist. If you’d like more information about backups, please visit our Education Centre at:

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