RFID tags could end problem of lost data tapes

Imation has developed a tracking technology that aims to end to the ongoing problem of lost data tapes.

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Imation has developed a tracking technology that aims to end to the ongoing problem of lost data tapes.

The supplier is launching a product that uses passive RFID tags and GPS tracking systems to remotely locate cartridges no matter where they are -- stationary or in transit.

Imation said it will begin shipping its tape RFID tape tracking technology in April. The technology embeds RFID chips in standard tape cartridge labels, allowing them to be scanned either individually with a hand-held device or by placing cases with up to 20 tapes inside on a scanning pad.

While the GPS tracking system will not be part of the initial product launch next month, over the next two months Imation plans to announce when the addition of GPS technology will be available in order to locate cartridges no matter where they are.

Imation's DataGuard rf Tape Tracking System will be sold as kits that contain one or both scanning devices - stationary and hand held - tracking management software, and a newly designed tape cartridge carrying case that fits most tape cartridge formats, including LTO, DLT, 3590, 34x0, 9x40, 3592, and T10000.

"DataGuard rf tape tracking system will help ensure data centres are able to reliably account for their tape cartridges,” said Dianne McAdam, an analyst with The Clipper Group.

When tapes are scanned through either the Imation DataGard Scan Station or Imation's DataGard Mobile (hand-held) Scanner with docking station, the cartridge ID information is automatically recorded into a workstation.

The individual cartridge or case of cartridges is then tracked using B&L Associates' VaultLedger or Vertices software. The reader system workstation automatically encrypts and posts the label information to the selected system software, which interfaces with a user's own tape management system.

The scanning devices are also programmable to locate misfiled or out-of-sequence cartridges via the tape management software. Management software provides list and audit reporting capabilities, which can decrease the amount of time data centre personnel spend on managing tape libraries, Imation said.

The VaultLedger or Vertices software can be set up for alerts, so that if a particular tape or group of tape are required for legal discovery, regulatory compliance or other purposes are needed, administrators can be alerted when they are scanned.

Starter kits retail for just under $40,000 (£20,000) and include a hand held scanner and docking station, management software, 5,000 integrated RFID tags, and 10 tape cartridge carrying cases.

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