MagStor’s newly published White Paper demonstrates that NanoPure Media™ has 30%-40% lower error rates, on average, than new untested media. This is a significant reduction, made possible by a patent-pending process that reduces media asperities and contamination. In doing so, the NanoPure Media process brings concrete user benefits, improving both the performance and reliability of LTO drives and media: lower error rates mean reduced error correction activity during first use and faster system performance, while cleaner media reduces wear on tape heads and improves their longevity.
First some background. NanoPure Media™ is premium LTO media that is cleaned, tested and calibrated prior to first use. It’s a solution designed to address one of the challenges of the archive usage model: “green” media (that is, brand new data cartridges) is more abrasive than media that has already been used several times. Asperities and microscopic debris left from the manufacturing process cause wear to tape drive heads and can adversely affect their longevity. Similarly, debris on new media causes higher error rates, increased error correction activity, and as a result slower system performance. To reduce the asperities and contaminants present on new media MagStor has developed a unique burnishing and cleaning process, based on a patent-pending double helix roller. The double helix roller is designed to clean and burnish the media in a more controlled and gentler manner than the blade-based cleaning method used elsewhere in the tape industry.
To test the effectiveness of the NanoPure Media™ cleaning process and its ability to reduce asperities and contaminants, MagStor designed a controlled lab test to measure data errors before and after the burnishing/cleaning process. Tests were run on randomly selected new IBM Fujifilm LTO-7 and LTO-8 cartridges, using standard Tape Drive Doctor software to record soft write errors. By comparing the before and after error counts it is possible to quantify the effectiveness of the NanoPure Media burnishing/cleaning process.
The test results reveal two key takeaways. The first is that there are wide differences in error rates on new untested media. Across the random sample of LTO-7 cartridges, error rates varied by up to 3X, while on the LTO-8 cartridges, error rates varied by up to 2.6X. These disparities underline both the unpredictability of media contamination, and the need for a solution to remove contaminants.
The second takeaway is that the NanoPure Media™ process significantly reduces error rates on new “green” media. For the LTO-7 cartridges tested, error rates were reduced by an average of 42%, while for the LTO-8 sample, the improvement was 31%. Error rates were reduced across all cartridges tested, with the best improvement being a reduction of 64%. These improvements are a testament to the ability of the NanoPure process to effectively clean and burnish the tape, providing both performance and capacity benefits: less time is spent rewriting data blocks after an error is detected, and less space is used for rewritten blocks. Importantly, the burnished media is less abrasive for the tape heads, thereby lengthening drive life.
The large deltas in error rates observed on brand new media point to a second challenge addressed by NanoPure Media™. Today, diagnosis of a failed tape drive is a lengthy and complex process. Uncertainty over tape-to-tape variability makes this process even harder. With currently available tools it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine with certainty if the cause of a failure is a defective drive or defective media. There remains an unmet need for a solution that can determine with certainty the cause of data failures in the field, and eliminate the need for costly and extensive factory diagnosis.
To address this issue, NanoPure Media™ cartridges are tested and calibrated at the factory using standard drives. The calibration factors are stored in cartridge memory, providing diagnostic capabilities that allow administrators to monitor the health of their backup systems after each use. Should cartridge performance fall below acceptable limits, the user will be alerted to the performance exception (when used with a compatible backup applications such as Archiware or Hedge). The user can then take proactive steps to remove the suspect media from the pool before more serious errors occur.
In the near future, users will be able to utilize the optional NanoPure Intelligent Diagnostic Cartridge* to further assess the health of the cartridge along with the health of the tape drive itself. Our process enables the end user to pinpoint if faulty media or faulty tape hardware is behind the degraded performance, saving valuable time otherwise spent troubleshooting. NanoPure Media™ is shipping globally now. Download the White Paper to learn more about its effectiveness in improving performance and reliability.
For a complimentary copy of the whitepaper, contact MagStor at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Requires use of the NanoPure Media Lifecycle Management (NMLM) solution with supported backup software. Available at an additional cost in Q12023