Information Technology, it ain’t easy, but it sure is rewarding.

Let’s face it, Information Technology is all about disassembling information and interpreting it into real world solutions and sometimes problems. It is a job in which you are constantly evolving your knowledge and problem solving is your number one asset, well, that and support contracts.

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This week I learned a valuable lesson, LTO tapes are only good for 50 uses and that’s best case scenario and in optimal conditions. They also should be stored on their side, not laying flat, and should not be transported in a backpack, hand bag, purse, or European carry all, vibrations damage these things. A bad tape will break your LTO5 drive. In the last 2 weeks both my Tape Library drives died due to bad tapes. When I tried to look for some detailed information about the life expectancy of an LTO tape I found some arbitrary metrics about how many times a tape can be loaded but that’s about it. Speaking to the Dell representative he shone some light on this matter and I was able to get some concrete information as per above. He also told me that I can open up the drive and remove the bad tape without voiding my warranty. I liked that it meant I get to tinker with a new piece of hardware . Brought me back to my youth when my brother handed me his broken walkman, “If you can fix it, it’s yours”. At 9 years old armed with a screw driver and determination I tinkered with that thing for hours. I had to remember where each screw went and what part it belonged to. I never fixed that walkman, but I did identify the problem. I got a lot of joy from taking electronics apart at a young age, even the ones that weren’t broken.

Here is what the LTO5 Half Height tape drive looks like from the inside.

Either way the whole ordeal wasn’t a very pleasant experience. Two weeks without any backups is quite stressful. During this time I really wanted to drive the tape library out to the field and go office space on its ass. I joke about it now but it’s funny how when things break it’s never anything simple. #itguyproblems

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