TapeErase Software

The environment that leads to the need for sanitization of data storage media

When data is written to tape it is a single time operation. Data is laid down from disk and when used again the previous data is overwritten. Data cannot be appended on tape. Companies may employ data retention policies that determine how long the data on a backup or archived tape must be kept. When this date has passed the tape may be reused as the residing data is deemed “no longer required”. However, it is not always as straightforward as that; there may be data that becomes part of the legal hold process, or is important for regulatory purpose. Further, when the tape is used again and the previous data is overwritten, if the amount of data is less then the older data will partially exist. Many would argue that the backup software designates when the end of data on a tape is applied and so the previous data is not able to be retrieved. The reality is that the data may still reside and though perhaps it may not be commercially viable to restore it, there are those with the capability to do so. For this reason Risk departments rightly guard the companies data with strict rules surrounding the management of data on tapes. Often they will not let the tapes be used for resale, or shipped to third parties for data transfer. Even destruction is deliberated upon. In situations like this only complete erasure will provide the peace of mind to those worried about the risk.

The Software

TapeErase is an easy to use utility that provides four basic functions in one simple operation;

  1. It tracks the erasure of data by assigning a unique identifier to each tape cartridge, typically the physical label number.
  2. It tests the functionality of the tape cartridge by writing blocks of data and then performing a read verification.
  3. It erases all of the data from all of the tracks over the full length of the tape. It does this by writing zeros.
  4. It logs the operation as a text file to verify a successful operation.

TapeErase works on any windows platform and can talk to up to 4 tape drives on each system, providing they are connected by SCSI, SAS or Fiber. It will run a tape cartridge about as fast as the manufacturers of the tapes say they can be run, so typically an LTO tape cartridge may take between two and three hours.

The software can be purchased at $399 per annual license. The demo version will perform 5 complete erasures. To test the software or purchase please fill in the form:

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