Can I Use Different Backup Tape Brands for Tape Library?

I realize this post is pretty old (2014 and it is now 2023), but the information still applies today.

We have been a tape business for 17 years and working thousands of tape medias, we have discovered a few things.

Most importantly, you should use media manufactured by the drive manufacturer. Do not use HP media in an IBM drive or vice versa. The reason for this is that the tape tension, thickness of media and orientation of the rollers are different in each manufacturers drives. Although it will work, most likely you will get an extremely dirty R/W head on your IBM drive if you use HP media. It is recommended that you use Fuji media in an IBM drive. Fuji produces media for Fuji, IBM and DELL. Fuji also manufactures media for Quantum, but we found that Quantum [Certified] media is made by Sony, which would be recommended for HP.

It is also important to use BaFe (Barium Ferrite) media in an IBM LTO6 and up tape drive. Do not use MP (Metal Particulate) media in an LTO6 or newer tape drive. This is where the problem of using LTO5 media in an LTO6 tape drive (even just to read the data) is a problem. There is no BaFe LTO5 media, so once again you are using MP media in an LTO6 tape drive designed to use BaFe.

Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD do something:

  • You CAN use LTO4 media in an LTO5 tape drive, but you SHOULDN'T
  • You CAN use HP media in an IBM tape drive, but you SHOULDN'T

If you don't follow those 2 words of advice, we will see your tape drive in for repair real soon. The R/W head will get 'gunked up' real quick. If not totally ruined.

Use Fuji media in IBM drives and HP, Sony, Maxell etc. in HP tape drives. Unless your HP tape drive is LTO7 or later because the actual tape drive would have been made by IBM.