What is the TapeAlert architecture?

This post was written by admin on January 15, 2009
Posted Under: Specifications and Reference Docs

TapeAlert software, such as SMARTMon-UX polls the tape drive, autochanger, or library via the SCSI, FibreChannel or iSCSI interface via SCSI commands and reads the

Block diagram of TapeAlert process

Block diagram of TapeAlert process

error and warning flags defined by the TapeAlert specification from the hardware.  These flags are converted to diagnostic and status messages and made available to the user.

Tape Drive Implementation
Based on the principle of the tape drive or library performing constant self-diagnosis using its internal device-specific information, and then interpreting this into standard highlevel error flags
• Device firmware constantly checking for problems using internal device information, for example looking for:

Read or Write margin warning
Read or Write failure (hard error)
Hardware failure
Media worn out
Cleaning required
Cleaning tape worn out
Using non-data grade media

• When problem trigger conditions are met, then the appropriate TapeAlert error flag is set in the TapeAlert Log Sense page 0x2e.

TapeAlert Software Implementation
Software reads TapeAlert information via the Log Sense page, and actions any error flags that are set

• Actions are to log the pre-defined TapeAlert error message and notify user through normal error notification methods e.g. display on server console
• The TapeAlert error messages are related to the flag number (see TapeAlert specification) and have been extensively tested with users
• Error messages are clear and understandable, eg:

“The tape drive needs cleaning:
1. If the operation has stopped, eject the tape and clean the drive.
2. If the operation has not stopped, wait for it to finish and then clean the drive”

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