“Recertified” Media

Tape media sold as “recertified” is an attempt by the seller to disguise what it actually is – used, second-hand tape which someone has attempted to delete the previous user’s data whilst preserving the servo track adequately that the media will still work.

Whilst it is possible the cartridges will work adequately, and are no doubt backed by a reassuring sounding guarantee, before selling “recertified” media to your customers consider the following –

Where does the tape come from?

The bulk of used media will have been bought from customers who now consider their media obsolete. It has ended its useful life and instead of recycling it via the appropriate channel or selling it as a souvenir they have sold it in bulk to a recycler for a few dollars.

What life has the media had?

Despite any reassurances that the tapes have all been barely used and removed from a “big 3” data centre, it is more likely the tapes have been well used. Each head pass & load/unload takes a small toll on the tape. Data Centres are removing these tapes as they have likely reached the end of their useful life and will by this point, also be obsolete and many years old.

How was the media removed from the library?

Carefully removed and handled to avoid any edge damage to the tape and then placed in a poly case before being packed in bespoke packaging to protect it in transit, or stripped out of the library by the contractor who offered the cheapest quote, before selling on to whichever “recertifier” would buy them?

Has all the previous data been removed from the tape?

A Fujifilm/Ovation Data study of “recertified LTO cartridges” bought on the open market found over 90% still contained usable information. Whilst it might not matter to an end user they have someone else’s data on their “as new” tape, it speaks volumes about the original user of this media and their professionalism.

What is the customer trying to achieve?

If it is a cost-saving, then have them consider newer drives and media – buying 1 new LTO8 tape is far cheaper than buying 5 used LTO6 tapes without even considering the risks to their data on used tape.

Used media has the potential to reflect badly on the entire supply chain and risks your customer’s data and your reputation.

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