LTO Tapes -- WORM vs REGULAR ?

finance_teacher
finance_teacher used Ask the Experts™
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I have some unopened LTO tapes that look like the attached small image, with no read "WORM" wording like the bigger image.

Does the actually tape have some type of marking so I know which tapes are factory set to WORM ?
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Top Expert 2014
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With Quantum (and I think every one else) the bottom shell of the cartridge's plastic casing is grey if it is a WORM tape. Also they have the word WORM on the plastic casing. Apart from that you can't tell unless you have a device to read the RFID memory.

Photo of a WORM LTO here - http://www.imagestore.co.uk/storage-media-tapedisccartridge/lto-tapes/lto-worm-tapes/hp-lto-4-worm-tape/

grey bottom shell on WORM.
AndyAlder's answer is correct also for HP's tapes (grey bottom half of the shell).

Note that "WORM" is a bit of a misnomer; you can write and append to WORM tapes, you just can't change the data already written to the tape without destroying the tape.   So you can use these tapes for a series of weekly full backups if you want (say, a 200GB backups this week, another 200GB next week, and so on over the course of a month) and then archive the tape.  You will not be able to format or erase the tape, though; once you put data on a WORM tape, it's there to stay.

Since it's essentially impossible to erase these tapes, don't forget the importance of using encryption to make sure that a tape can't be read by people who shouldn't read it.   (Note: Degaussing an LTO tape does erase the data on it... and also the servo tracks which tell the tape drive where the data bands are.  Without servo tracks, any LTO tape is totally unusable -- whether it's WORM or not.  No, you can't rewrite servo tracks, unless you have manufacturer-level equipment.)

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