News Column

Patent Issued for Tape Cartridge Auxiliary Memory Based Library

July 15, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Heineman, Ray D. (Longmont, CO); Guleff, Samuel J. (Superior, CO); Starr, Matthew Thomas (Lafyette, CO); Goberis, Michael Jerard (Broomfiled, CO); Wong, Walter (Boulder, CO), filed on September 29, 2011, was published online on July 1, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8767330 is Spectra Logic, Corp. (Boulder, CO).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to tape libraries using auxiliary memory devices contained in tape storage cartridges in tape libraries.

"Data storage libraries, such as tape libraries, are typically used to store and retrieve large amounts of data for data manipulation and archiving purposes. These libraries are generally comprised of drive devices adapted to read and write data to and from tape cartridges that are often housed within the tape libraries. In the interest of obtaining cursory information about a specific tape cartridge without requiring a time-consuming media load and tape threading process to read the on-tape index file, techniques using holes arranged in patterns in the cartridge casing and later electrical pads grounded in a variety of combinations were introduced. The holes and/or electrical pads provided simple information such as tape capacity, manufacturer, etc. Today, these techniques are yielding to the introduction of Radio Frequency chips disposed in the tape cartridges called a Memory-In-Cartridge (MIC) or Medium Auxiliary Memory (MAM), because of increased amounts of information and ease of use. FIG. 1A shows an example of a tape cartridge 100, tape medium 102, and MIC 104, shown here in dashed lines because the MIC 104 and tape medium 102 reside in the interior of the cartridge 100. In this example, the MIC is disposed in an LTO-3 cartridge which can be provided by TDK Corp. of Tustin, Calif.

"A MIC allows the tape drive to access valuable cartridge data without the use of a physical connection, reducing connector wear for both the drive and the media. The MIC is a memory chip built into the data cartridge that provides a direct and immediate connection to the drive's on-board processors, which speeds access to information related to the data cartridge such as system logs, for example. Information and file search parameters are formatted within the MIC system effectively cutting the data access time down to a fraction from historical techniques.

"As shown in FIG. 1B, a MIC 104 fundamentally comprises an integrated circuit that includes solid state memory and a transponder 124 attached to an antenna 126, the antenna is typically a small coil of wires. The MIC 104 is considered a passive device because it is energized when subjected to a strong enough RF field produced by a MIC-Reader. Information can be transmitted between the MIC and the MIC-Reader via a specific radio frequency.

"Currently a MIC, or MAM, is parceled into regions for a medium, device and host. The three regions can accommodate attributes related to a medium with a MIC. For example a medium attribute can be a serial number permanently stored in the MAM during manufacturing, a device attribute can be load count maintained by the tape drive and a host attribute can be a backup date maintained by the application client. These attributes are strictly read and written to by a reader disposed in a drive.

"In an effort to expand capabilities of a storage element containing a MIC operable with a data storage unit beyond a tape drive both methods and apparatus are disclosed herein. It is to innovations related to this subject matter that the claimed invention is generally directed."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention relates generally to tape libraries using auxiliary memory devices contained in tape storage cartridges in tape libraries that overcomes the disadvantages and limitations of the prior art by using at least one radio frequency memory device to read auxiliary memory devices that is independent of that which is used in a tape drive.

"One embodiment of the present invention can therefore comprise a data storage library comprising: a plurality of tape cartridges wherein each of the tape cartridges possesses an auxiliary radio frequency memory device in which auxiliary digital data is stored; at least one drive disposed substantially within the library capable of transferring user data to and from one of the tapes; at least one auxiliary radio frequency memory device reader that capable of reading the auxiliary digital data and transmitting the auxiliary digital data to at least one designated location, the reader is independent of the at least one drive.

"Other embodiments of the present invention may additionally comprise a data storage library comprising: a first tape cartridge possessing a first auxiliary radio frequency memory device, the first device containing first attribute data relating to at least a first historical event associated with the first tape cartridge; a second tape cartridge possessing a second auxiliary radio frequency memory device, the second device containing second attribute data relating to at least a second historical event associated with the second tape cartridge; at least one drive disposed substantially within the library that capable of transferring user data to and from the first tape cartridge and to and from the second tape cartridge; at least one auxiliary radio frequency memory device reader independent of the drive capable of reading the first and second attribute data; a designated memory device capable of receiving the first and second attribute data from the reader; and an algorithm adapted to manipulate the first and second attribute data received by the designated memory device.

"Yet further embodiments of the present invention may comprise a method comprising the steps of: providing a library with a tape drive, a tape drive auxiliary memory reader and writer device associated with the tape drive, a auxiliary memory reader device independent of the tape drive, a designated cumulative auxiliary storage location, and a first tape cartridge that possesses a first auxiliary memory device; loading the first tape cartridge in the tape drive for a first time; recording that the first tape cartridge has been loaded into the tape drive for the first time as a first loading event wherein the recording is to the first auxiliary memory device via the tape drive auxiliary memory reader and writer device; unloading the first tape cartridge from the tape drive; reading the first loading event from the first auxiliary memory device via the auxiliary memory reader device independent of the tape drive; transmitting the first loading event from the auxiliary memory reader device independent of the tape drive to the designated cumulative auxiliary storage location; and recording the first loading event in the designated cumulative auxiliary storage location."

For additional information on this patent, see: Heineman, Ray D.; Guleff, Samuel J.; Starr, Matthew Thomas; Goberis, Michael Jerard; Wong, Walter. Tape Cartridge Auxiliary Memory Based Library. U.S. Patent Number 8767330, filed September 29, 2011, and published online on July 1, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8767330.PN.&OS=PN/8767330RS=PN/8767330

Keywords for this news article include: Spectra Logic Corp, Information Technology, Information and Data Storage.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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