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Re-tensioning LTO tapes

Do we have to re-tension archived LTO tapes? If so, what is a standard period to re-tension LTO tapes?

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The assumption here is that you mean "re-tension," as in reapplying tension to a tape volume, as opposed to "retention," as in how long data is retained or kept. I am not aware of such requirement for LTO tape cartridges. The tape manufacturers' lack of information specific to re-tensioning, which was relatively common with earlier tape technologies, also seems to indicate that it is not required for this type of media.

That being said, with today's constant changes to business applications, backup software releases, tape device firmware and connectivity, I would be more concerned with the availability of the technology a few years from now, that can read the data that was written to tape yesterday. Tape technology vendors have been good thus far at making sure new technologies is as backward compatible as possible but there are limits. Technology is evolving much faster today then it was just a few years ago and in the near future, you may run into compatibility issues due to aging technology way before tape media tensioning becomes a problem.

I would suggest that implementing a media rotation and technology refresh cycle is probably more important today than the physical impact of long-term storage on the media.

This was first published in February 2005

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