Quantums Leap The DLTsage initiative, from Quantum, aims to help change this, by giving IT managers and software vendors access to hardware diagnostic tools designed to report analyze tape drives and media.When I first saw an early demo of DLTsage a few weeks ago, I was impressed with the potential of this technology to not only help IT managers pinpoint hardware problems but also to keep track of wear and tear on tapes.The demo showed that DLTsage was able to harness tape drives to glean important status information on tapessuch as the condition of a tape and how often a tape has been loadedletting managers know what tapes are getting worn out and which ones have the potential to fail sooner rather than later. DLTsage will be available in Quantums tape products, and the company is working on partnerships with hardware and software vendors to make sure that they can utilize the additional information and weave it into their own management software to make hardware troubleshooting less troublesome. Quantums initiative is the first time Ive seen a hardware vendor reaching out to software vendors to make diagnostic software more important. However, this approach makes so much sense that I expect to see similar moves by other hardware vendors in the future. Hopefully well see more tape manufacturers adding improved diagnostics and tape analysis tools to their drivessomething that should have done a while ago, to make backup processes more efficient and manageable. Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.