T4T - Plugin - Health check
Health check - Check the quality of your tape
The Health check plugin allows you to do either a Write test (this will destroy data on the tape) or Read test on your tape cartridges. The task will process either the whole tape, or part of the tape, and at set intervals read the drive logs to build a Tape Error Map (TEM) allowing you to see the condition of the tape.
By using the Health Check, you can identify failing and worn media and maintain a quality assurance for your tape library. This Will save you time and money and give you the knowledge that your backups are readable!
Tape is a great way to store and archive information that is not directly needed (it's also cost effective!), but it is also more fragile than people realise. With a thick outer plastic shell, they almost look like they could withstand a lot of manhandling, but this is far from true. Ultrium 3 media (400GB) has a tape thickness of 0.0031" (8.0 microns) and is over 1/2KM in length (680m). Whilst tape technology allows for data recovery on the fly, there is a natural point where this becomes impossible and data recovery is then brought in to play (as with disk).
Newer technologies support a cartridge chip (Memory) in which statistics about the tape are stored (including error information), but whilst this information is useful it can also be misleading. A tape that was written on a faulty drive will still write the error information to the cartridge memory, which of course can make it look like the cartridge is at fault. So you have two options, dispose of the tape, or perform a Health check on it.
Our Health Check plugin may take some time to test the entire cartridge (although we do write as fast as the system/setup allows) but you can at least visually see the condition of the media (TEM).