Methods of cleaning drives

Automatic cleaning of tape drives is enabled by default. However, it is also possible to initiate manual or host cleaning.

  • It is the operator's responsibility to monitor cleaning cartridge usage.
  • Automatic cleaning is always enabled with the Advanced Library Management System (ALMS).

The head of every tape drive in the tape library must be kept clean to prevent errors that are caused by contamination. To help you keep the drives clean, IBM provides a cleaning cartridge with the library. Whenever a drive determines that it needs to be cleaned, it alerts you with a message on the library's display or host console. The library uses the cleaning cartridge to clean the drive with whatever cleaning method that you choose. In all methods, cleaning is performed after the data cartridge is unloaded from the drive and before the next load.

It is the operator’s responsibility to monitor cleaning cartridge usage and replace cleaning cartridges as necessary. The tape library provides multiple ways to monitor and manage cleaning cartridges. If SNMP traps are enabled, a trap is generated when a cleaning cartridge expires. It is also possible to use the management GUI to monitor the cleaning cycles that remain on a cleaning cartridge and to enable a setting that automatically ejects expired cleaning cartridges.

Three methods of cleaning are available:

Automatic cleaning
Automatic cleaning enables the library to automatically respond to any tape drive's request for cleaning and to begin the cleaning process. The cleaning process is transparent to any host application that uses the library. Automatic cleaning is required and cannot be disabled.
Manual cleaning
Manual cleaning requires that you select a menu option from the management GUI to clean one or more of the tape drives. Manual cleaning is always supported.
Host cleaning
Host cleaning enables the backup application to define and control the cleaning process. Automatic and manual cleaning utilize the CLNxxx VOLSER. Host-based cleaning uses a cartridge defined within the backup application, which can have a non-CLNxxx VOLSER, to clean drives. For more information, see the section about cleaning in your application software's documentation.