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LTO Cleaner
3592 Cleaner
Tape Cleaner
Developed in cooperation with a major library company and tested by all media manufacturers
The missing piece of a clean data center
    All data center professionals know that data centers free of contamination are reliable and efficient.
    Tape drives are highly reliable, but problems still can happen. The cause of the problems is almost always contamination.
That's why tape drives use a brush to clean the head after every tape.
That's why all media companies offer cleaning tapes to clean the tape drives.
But there are no devices that clean the media.
Media can be the carrier of contamination
    Tape wear generates debris that can be deposited onto various tape path elements in the tape drive that are in contact with the tape. These deposits in the drive can accelerate the wear of the tape.
    Collected debris can also be transferred from tape path elements to tapes that so far were free of debris.
    Tapes that carry debris may be loaded into drives that were initially free from contamination, and this process can contaminate the drive.
    Systems that contain a limited number of tape drives and a limited number of tape cartridges, such as tape libraries, are vulnerable to even small amounts of contamination as they can infect and then spread throughout the entire system.
Increased capacity means increased vulnerability
   Tape cartridge capacities doubled about every other year, yet the physical dimensions of the cartridges never changed. The increase in capacity is, in large part, due to the increase in bit density.
    This high density recording makes later generation tapes increasingly vulnerable to contamination. Even very small particles can cause problems.
    The picture on the right shows a small area of a recorded LTO tape. The slanted lines in the center contain servo data that are used by the drive to find the location of the data tracks.
    The data tracks are located on both sides of this servo band. The diameter of the brown particle is less than 100 Ám (less than the thickness of a sheet of copy paper). But due to the high density of the recorded data, a particle of this size renders hundreds of bits unreadable.
    The error correction circuitry of the drive would not be able to recover the data even with this tiny degree of contamination.
Removing the contamination without damaging the tape
    High capacity tapes are delicate. It is paramount to use only proven and trusted technologies to clean the tapes.
    Our technology was developed in cooperation with a major tape library company and was thoroughly tested by all media companies.
When to clean tapes
Which tapes should be cleaned and when should they be cleaned?
New tapes before their first use.
New tapes can carry significant amounts of slitting debris. The debris is generated during the manufacturing process when the tapes are cut into ½ inch wide stripes.
Tapes that are returned from an offsite storage facility.
Although most storage facility go to great length to prevent contamination, contamination still can occur at the storage facility or during tranpostation.
When an "abort" due to a write error cannot be tolerated.
If data cannot be written reliably to tape, the tape drive will stop and the write command fails. The most likely reason for a write command to fail is contamination of the media or the drive. Using a clean tape increases the success rate.
After a permanent read error occurs.
Contamination of the media can prevent a tape drive from recovering data on the tape. If the tape contains critical input data the results can be disastrous. Cleaning the failing tape may allow the tape drive to read the data.
After changing the capacity of a cartridge.
The capacity of LTO and 3592 cartridges can be set to values less than 100% in order to increase the performance of partially filled tapes. Subsequently increasing the capacity may cause a serious problem. IBM issues this stern warning:
"If the Capacity Proportion is increased it is possible that a debris dump may exist at the previous logical end of medium. This may cause a defect when attempting to write through that area." [IBM Documentation GA32-0928-01 page 166]
Cleaning the tape will remove this "debris dump".