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Cleaning the used tape

Posted on 2009-07-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Dear All,
We use Ultrium tapes to take back up for future use.
But I want to clean the tape and which has been used previously.
what is the way to clean the tape (to cleae all the stored data)

Regards,
Bsidmis

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Question by:Bsidmis
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 24848068
Writing a new volume label should do the trick.

Unlike ½" tapes, once you've written two file marks to an LTO, the drive will refuse to read further, so if you re-initialise the tape, it will, in effect, be unreadable from that point on.
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24852570
This approach is OK as a "quick erase" method for in-house use, but it does not securely remove data (say if you were going to sell or donate some old tapes).  Data recovery software can be used to recover tapes that are "quick erased" like this.

You can't use a bulk eraser (degausser) on LTO tapes without making them unusable.  Bulk erasure will destroy the magnetic servo tracks on the tape that are created during manufacturing.  If you just need to securely scrub tapes of data before discarding them, then this is the easiest and fastest way.  

http://www.veritysystems.com/degaussers/erase-lto.asp

If you need to erase the data on the tapes, but still leave them usable,you can use use the INZTAP command specifying CLEAR(*YES).  This is time-consuming, but it will overwrite the entire tape. Be aware that this mechanism may not be secure enough for highly sensitive data, since it may be possible for a lab to recover some data that has been overwritten in this fashion.  IF this is a concern, you should either destroy the tapes, hire a service to securely erase the tapes for you using special equipment, or obtain an LTO Secure Eraser, ike the one listed below:

http://tapemasters.com/scripts/Tech.asp

- Gary Patterson
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 24853943
"This approach is OK as a "quick erase" method for in-house use, but it does not securely remove data (say if you were going to sell or donate some old tapes).  Data recovery software can be used to recover tapes that are "quick erased" like this."

You're right in the sense that it does not remove the data beyond the two file marks, however, there isn't any software that will allow you to read past EOD on an LTO drive. This is because the drive itself will refuse to read past EOD, no matter what commands you send it.

However, a lab with an altered drive WILL be able to get past EOD, so if the data is really sensitive, and it's possible someone would spend a small fortune paying a recovery bureau to recover it, then yes, you need something like Tapemasters' LTO eraser. Or degaussing, if you don't wish to use the tapes again.
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24854684
It just takes a firmware mod to make an LTO drive to read past EOD.  Data recovery labs and data forensics firms utilize modded devices like this routinely to recover damaged or accidentally erased tapes.

The point is that if your data is valuable and/or confidential, a short erase is not adequate to protect your data from recovery.  Since it can be difficult to determine if any given tape contains valuable or confidential information at any given moment, most organizations have a simple policy regarding data destruction and treat all backup tapes as if they contain valuable and confidential information.

I've worked with numerous public and private companies in the US and Canada designing data security policies and practices, and I can assure you that nobody that I've worked with would intentionally allow short erased tapes to be donated, sold, or trashed.

If you just need to scratch the tape for re-use, then a short erase should be fine.

- Gary Patterson



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Author Comment

by:Bsidmis
ID: 24858872
Dear All,
Thanks for your support
wheather i have to install some third part tool to clean the LTO Tapes or is there any command in AS400 to do the same
please conform
 
Regards,
Bsidmis
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 24859676
"It just takes a firmware mod to make an LTO drive to read past EOD." - LOL - ever tried getting hold of that firmware, Gary?

Anyway, Bsidmis - can you please tell us what degree of security is required for your tapes - Gary and my answers should cover the full spectrum of what you need. IE, if you're re-using them in-house, or the data aren't sensitive, just initialise them; if you want to be absolutely certain the data are irretrievable, do as Gary suggests.

I'm not an AS400 bod, but my understanding is that to re-initialise the tapes, INZTAP should do the trick.


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Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24862184
INZTAP CLEAR(*NO) - Writes a new volume header
INZTAP CLEAR(*YES) - Overwrites tape to EOD

- Gary Patterson
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24862827
TapeDude,

I've never needed to obtain modified LTO drive firmware, but I imagine it is out there to be had.  Our company is partners with several data recovery and forensics services that have modded drives in their lab.  Part of our business is forensic examination of computer systems, and that occasionally includes tapes.  

- Gary Patterson


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Author Comment

by:Bsidmis
ID: 24866509
Dear Gary,
INZTAP CLEAR(*YES) - Overwrites tape to EOD
If i run the above command for Ultrium  tapes in AS400 and try to save some data into same tape drive. Will  any data loss condition exist or not
Please confirm
Regards,
Bsidmis
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24872252
I'm not sure what you mean by data loss.  

The original data that was on the tape will get wiped clean, so that data is (intentionally) gone forever.  

It does not change the usability of the tape for future use, if that is what you mean.

- Gary Patterson
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Author Comment

by:Bsidmis
ID: 24877519
Dear All,
On daily basis we used to initialize with the tape with  CLEAR(*NO)  to keep the backup of Current Day Transactions.
But we have some old unused tapes which we want to use the same to  keep backup for some pC based System
for that Purpose if I clear the tape and try to save some object in it
wheather it will have any drawback on it
 
Regards,
Bsidmis
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Accepted Solution

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Gary Patterson earned 500 total points
ID: 24880060
CLEAR(*NO) leaves data on the tape that could be recovered, so you probably don't want to use this method to clear tapes that you plan to sell, trash, or donate.  If you just plan to reuse the tapes in-house then CLEAR(*NO) should be fine.

- Gary Patterson
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 24885998
If you just plan to reuse the tapes in-house (and security is not a concern) you could skip initialising them on the AS/400 and just initialise them in whatever the new backup package is that you''ll be using.
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 24886000
... seeing as you''ll need to be doing that in any case.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Bsidmis
ID: 31603193
Dear Gary,
Thanks for your support
Regards,
Bsidmis
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Gary Patterson
ID: 24911534
Bsidmis,

Happy to help!

- Gary
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