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Cleaning - software or hardware?

Cleaning - software or hardware?

Cleaning - software or hardware?

This issue seems to be different depending on who you ask - the hardware or software vendor. So I'm looking for some unbiased advice (in a software forum!)

CommVault Simpana was installed a few years ago with a Dell PowerVault TL4000 tape library. It was v8.0 then and was configured in Simpana to do the cleaning. We had various issues earlier this year - Simpana was upgraded to 9.0 and the tape library had its firmware upgraded and was configured to do the cleaning (then disabled in Simpana) on the advice of Dell.

Because of this Simpana no longer lists when the drives were cleaned, how many times they were cleaned or how many times the cleaning tape has been used. The TL4000 also only has records of it doing the cleaning for a couple of months, not the couple of years that the software was doing it. So I will start afresh with a new cleaning tape as I'm pretty sure the cleaning tape is EOF.

The question is - should I leave it with hardware cleaning or go back to software cleaning?

This may be depending on the hardware we have. It appears the TL4000 may not talk to Simpana to keep track of cleaning jobs when other hardware might and/or other software may talk to the TL4000. The Simpana software is easy to use, and clearly details when cleaning was done and will clearly show when the tape needs replacing. The hardware doesn't do this but if the software isn't doing the cleaning as good/often as the hardware requires then using software may not be best.

Any advice?

RE: Cleaning - software or hardware?

Always go with hardware, since it is hardware you are cleaning!

RE: Cleaning - software or hardware?

Quick question, do you work for a hardware company eg Dell? I have to ask.

In response to your answer, the software cleans the hardware too. But why do you think the hardware should control it? Why, do you think, it is better at it than any software would be?

Simpana keeps track of counters eg number of hours used, number of hours since last clean, number of read/write errors, number of read/write errors since last clean, number or mount/unmount errors, number of mount/unmount errors since last clean. There is nothing like that in the hardware. Or am I supposed to trust Dell that it does this and does a clean when it thinks it needs to?

Simpana also emails me to tell me when there have been errors, when a drive needs checking, when it has exceeded any counters etc. The hardware does nothing - it just sits there, does it's thing, and I have to manually check on it and even then it doesn't tell me anything. All I can see in the hardware console is that it has mounted the cleaning tape X times. It gives no indication on any errors etc. If the software picked up on errors during a job then it could pause the job, clean the drive, then resume the job - something the hardware could not do.

That may sound like I'm pro-software which is not the case. All these good things that the software can offer with regards to cleaning are clearly there to see but there is little on show to give the hardware option a good name. All I can see is the argument "hardware should do it because hardware knows best". That doesn't give any examples of why it is the best option.

I'm looking for pros/cons to the software/hardware options to honestly compare them. But at this stage it is software 100 (counters, email notification, job control etc etc) to hardware 1 (cos it should). If anyone could provide some pros for hardware or even some cons to software then that would provide some details to compare.

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