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How many times can you use an LTO3 backup tape?

At work we have a Dell PowerEdge 2800 server with an LTO3 tape drive. Recently we've been having trouble with the tape drive and are getting ready to order some more tapes, but I am getting conflicting reports as to how many times a tape can be used before it has to be replaced again.

Dell is telling me that the tapes should be used within a year of purchase with no more than 50 uses. However I found tapes online that can be used up to 250 times. Now I'm really confused.

For our server we have 5 tapes, one for each day of the week so I would say that we use each tape approximately 50 times each year.

How many times do you guys typically use an LTO3 tape before replacing it?
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mjbtec
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mjbtec
1 Solution
 
David WallCommented:
I find we seem to start losing tapes at the 50 use mark it seems more pronounced if we verify the tape as well. Tough I have to say that tends to be more dat tapes rather than LTO's.

What also seems to affect tape is how clean the drives are, we stopped using the drived indicator and now clean all drives weekly which has reduced our instances of bad backups.
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dovidmichelCommented:
Manufactures report something along the line of one million passes, and a typical backup typically includes between 5 to 15 passes. Each time a tape is read is going to be a few more passes.

Now in real life a year's use is typical. After that the tape is typically used for long term storage of the data such as for a monthly full backup.

50 uses seems very conservative to me and this is the first I have heard of using a tape within a year of purchase.

For the most part the environment and handling of the tape has the most influence on the life of the tape.
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mjbtecAuthor Commented:
It probably depends on the brand of the tape as well. Our other server is using TDK brand LTO2 tapes that are still in great shape and they are probably just as old as the LTO3's I've been having trouble with. The LTO3's were made by Dell.
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