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Tape Management

This process manages and optimizes methods to allocate, store, administer, and optimize tape usage. It seeks to make sure that enough (but not too much) operational tape is available; that various tape media, including virtual tape, are used as effectively as possible; and that manual tape mounts are kept to a minimum.

Tasks

Skills

Retrieve, mount, and replace tapes in tape library

Manage automated tape loaders, virtual tape, silos, and all major vendor technologies in the tape family

Manage tape systems with automation tools

Improve performance by tuning tape parameters, including block size, compression, and caching

Knowledge of utilities associated with copy, repair, and various production support processes

Basic understanding of tape library functions (retention, inventory, and so forth)

Understanding of storage performance trade-offs (disk versus tape, near-line versus offline)

Experience with storage area networking management

Staffing

Automation Technology

None

Tape transport subsystems

Silos and virtual tape servers

Tape-management software

Best Practices

Metrics

Use of a common organization and management process for tape storage systems across all platforms

Maintenance of a detailed inventory and catalog mechanism for all tape files

Use of automated software to manage business continuity tapes

Use of automatic placement of data to manage performance based on data criticality, access frequency, and so forth

Ongoing performance management/optimization process that monitors tapes coming up for expiration, length of service for each tape, and optimal file placement on tapes

Ongoing investigation of how costs can be reduced both internally and externally

Utilization per cartridge

Number of (manual) mounts

Cost/GB (or cartridge)

Staffing per unit capacity (staffing/n-tapes/mounts/etc.)

Mean-time-between-failures (MTBF): How many applications were affected, and for how long, due to tape-related issues?

Process Integration

Futures

Disk storage management

Tape to become an element of a Storage Area Network

Virtual tape (data set indexing)

Transport independence

Inter-platform use of automated tape

Media commoditization

Intelligent storage controllers

Higher integration of tape and disk subsystems

Dynamic (and intelligent) data placement independent of media


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