LTO-9 Media Initialization

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With the new LTO-9 devices and media, a new process is required when a new tape is used in a drive for the first time. This initialization can appear very confusing to new LTO users or users of previous LTO generations where you could simply insert the tape and go.

Step-by-step guide
This only applies to brand new LTO-9 tapes that have never been used in a drive

  • Power up your LTO-9 drive – it does not need to be connected to a system and no software needs to be running
  • Insert the tape into the drive
  • Wait – this can take an hour or more per tape.
  • What is Media Initialization?
    Media initialization has been implemented in LTO-9 technology to optimize data placement to each LTO-9 cartridge characteristic. Like other common storage devices, each new LTO-9 cartridge requires a one-time initialization prior to commencing read/write operations. LTO-9 media initialization enhances LTO tape long-term media durability.

    How much time does the initialization add to the first-time load of a brand new cartridge?
    Media initialization averages between 35 to 52 minutes per the first load of a cartridge to a tape drive. Most initializations will complete within 60 minutes, but the whole process may take up to 2 hours. For additional details, please contact your tape drive provider.

    Why does the LTO-9 media require to be initialized before it can be used?
    The increased number of tracks used to write data on tape requires greater precision. This initial calibration enables the tape drive’s intelligent alignment to optimize data placement.

    Will LTO-8 media require initialization on first load to an LTO-9 tape drive?
    No. Media initialization is required for the initial use of a new LTO-9 cartridge.

    Does Media Initialization need to be performed in the destination site?
    Due to environmental requirements, that initialization should be performed in the final installation destination where the drives and media are to be used to ensure optimized acclimation.

    Can Media Initialization be disabled?
    No, the one-time initialization cannot be disabled. In order for the tape to perform, it must be initialized before first use. No further initialization for that cartridge is required.

    Once an LTO-9 piece of media has been initialized in a drive, does it need to be re-initialized when it is moved to a separate drive, separate library, separate data center, or environment?
    No. The initialization process is only required on the first load of a new and unused LTO-9 cartridge, subsequent loads do not require initialization.

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