Q

Calculating MTTF (mean time to failure) for tape libraries

Pierre Dorion explains where to find MTTF data and repair profiles for tape libraries.

Where can I find MTTF data and repair profiles for tape libraries -- Overland in particular?
A visit to the Overland Web site will provide you the MTTF (or MTBF) information you are looking for. The various library data sheets provide these ratings. Depending on the library model and the type of tape device you are (or will be) using, you may also wish to visit the web pages from the various tape device vendors who will also list the "Mean Time Between Failures" rating for their respective products.

As far as the repair profile, this information is typically a little harder to get since vendors are not always

eager to reveal some of the possible quirks about their products. You may have better luck looking for comments on user forums.

A word of caution about MTBF ratings, although there is some science behind them, these numbers are usually calculated from repetitive tests that emulate use over time or use generic failure history data for components such as circuitry, drive motors, mechanical components, etc. For example, when a certain device is rated with a MTBF of 250,000 hours, this means 28 years! It becomes obvious that the device was not actually tested for 28 years before it failed.

Read Doug Owens' answer to this question.

This was first published in September 2004

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