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Maintenance of Tape Libraries

Posted on 2014-01-31
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Last Modified: 2014-02-03
I have just asked the compnay we subcontract our IT services out to what maintenance they conduct on the tabe libraries and servers that support our backup arrangements.  They state that there is no maintenance, however all hardware is under contract to another firm with a 4hr SLA meaning that should any part fail, they will have installed a replacement part within that 4hr timeframe.

Whilst it is good to see a 4hr SLA in place for repairs, I was hoping to see some maintenance procedures in place to try and prevent any failures in the first place.

I appreciate failures are inevitable but is maintenance of tape libraries and media servers a common occurance for businesses, can they even be maintained at all?  If so what kind of work should be carried out (I apreciated this may vary between vendors of hardware)?
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Question by:jdc1944
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Robert Sutton Jr earned 500 total points
ID: 39824161
I believe what you are thinking is "Preventive maintenance" .. And with that being said it would constitute your library being taken offline and more or less cleaning moving parts, adjusting or calibrating things, etc.. However, this would create a downtime and your library would not be able to function during this time and all tape operations will stop until said maintenance is completed. Typically this is only done by an OEM certified tech or someone from the manufacturers pool of techs so as not to void any warranties on your device(s). I worked in a 900k sq. Ft. IBM datacenter w/ some tape libraries extending around 40ft in length.  I was a network security specialist. In over 10 years there I never saw any HW tech or tape librarian take any of them down to just clean the parts, grease the fittings, etc, unless it was broken and needed to be changed. This is why you pay to have it in a "Controlled" environment with clean dustless air, climate and humidity controlled.
            In an IT world and especially in a production environment if its not broken, then don't try to fix it. This is typically when things do get broken or other issues arise..(IE: Opening up a can of worms). One thing I would focus on is your SLA. Are they stating restoration within 4hrs or a response within 4hrs? I would hope it means restoration. Let us know.  Hope this gives you a better understanding.
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by:andyalder
ID: 39825068
The_Warlock is correct, there's generally no preventative maintenance on tape drives, what matters is keeping the dust out of the room they're in in the first place. If set up correctly the library will perform any cleaning required for the tape heads, software can also do this but make sure they're both set up to do it. You should verify the SLA is 4 hour fix, not 4 hour response.
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by:jdc1944
ID: 39829493
Thanks for that, it's perfectly clear now.

I will double check to ensure the 4hr SLA is for restoration.
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