Around the Storage Block Blog
Find out about all things data storage from Around the Storage Block at HP Communities.

I've been personally impacted by lost tapes


Hi Folks,

Yesterday I received a letter in the mail at home that started off:

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are writing to let you know that computer tapes containing some of your personal information were lost while being transported to an off-site storage facility by our archive services vendor. While we have no reason to believe that this information has been accessed or used inappropriately, we deeply regret that this incident occurred....

So the first question I have is how does an archive vendor lose tapes? How hard can it be to take the tapes from your customer put them in a secure truck and drive them to the storage facility? Isn't that your whole business model - you will pick up, transport and store these tapes safely and securely 100% of the time?

Now I understand that any activity with humans involved cannot be guaranteed to work 100% of the time. So what really happened? A bit more of an explanation would have been helpful, such as the truck was in an inadvertent accident and the contents of the truck were spilled into a river or all over the highway and could not all be recovered. Without more details I'm left wondering did someone make off with the tapes by accident or on purpose? Or was this just sloppy work by the company?

Anyway, I hope this is a call to action for this company to do at least two things to prevent such an incident in the future.

1. Look into tape encryption such as the LTO-4 offers. I would have been more much pleased if that second sentence read "While the tapes were physically lost, the data they contained cannot be accessed or read by anyone because the data on the tapes is securely encrypted with sophisticated technology requiring encryption keys to make the data readable. Our security policy ensures that these keys are always stored in or transported to physically separate locations from the computer tapes."

2. Consider the use of replication and electronic vaulting for moving data off-site for archiving. With new technologies such as deduplication and low-bandwidth replication, this company would perhaps be able to reduce the amount of data that is stored on tapes and physically transported to archive storage. Again, I don't know the specifics here, but as an example let's say this company had four sites that they were backing up to data to tape and transporting those tapes to off-site archives. With replication and electronic vaulting, they could replicate data from three of their sites to just one site for backup to tapes and then only have to move tapes from the one site to archive storage thereby reducing their risk exposure by 75%.

If you're worried about how a similar incident could impact your company and what risks are involved HP is here to help. We can work with you to significantly reduce your data security exposure from the desktop to your data center. On the storage side, we offer a FREE storage security risk assessment. For more details on HP's other data security options beyond storage please check HP's Security web page.


Anonymous | ‎10-10-2008 10:00 PM

Thanks for sharing useful info.

Anonymous | ‎11-25-2008 03:11 AM

LTO or Linear Tape Open is a magnetic tape data media that was initiated and developed by IBM, Seagate and Hewlett-Packard in order to

counter Sony’s AIT tape LTO Ultrium tape uses a single reel to maximize storage capacity and thus is better suited for archival use.

So the LTO Tapes are the best option for backup storage, because Ultrium is very popular, very compatible to all.

Some of the more popular LTO Ultrium tapes are: The 183800 and LTX100G LTO-1 tape The 183850, LTX200G and C7972A LTO-2 tape. The

183900, LTX400G and C7973A LTO-3 tape The 183906 and 26592 LTO-4 tape.

Anonymous | ‎02-26-2009 11:48 PM


Thanks for the information ..!




Anonymous | ‎08-24-2009 07:15 PM

The Sony LTX400GWW is an LTO-3 Ultrium tape cartridge. The LTX400GWW LTO-3 tape has a 400 GB native and 800 GB compressed capacity. Transfer rates for the LTX400GWW are 80 MB/s native and 160 MB compressed.  Thus not only is the LTX400GWW more reliable, its performance is also much improved over other tapes. Like any other LTO tape, the LTX400GWW also features an LTO-CM (Linear Tape Open - Cartridge Memory). The LTO-CM allows for storage of cartridge related data and can be read with a cartridge memory reader, be it external or internal.

Anonymous | ‎02-08-2010 08:17 PM

thanks for sharing such a useful info.

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
About the Author

Follow Us
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.