Imation Launches RFID-Based Cartridge Tracking System

The company claims the new tape tracking system is the world's first system to monitor and track the inventory location of in-transit data center tape cartridges using radio frequency identification.

Removable storage media maker Imation introduced a first-of-its-kind data storage tracking system March 12 using radio frequency identification tags so data center managers can more efficiently track the location of data cartridges within their own inventory.

The new DataGuard rf Tape Tracking System is designed to help account for the inventory location of all cartridges. The system incorporates a passive RFID tag integrated into a standard tape cartridge volser label; each cartridge in the selected library is fitted with these unique, integrated labels.

As cartridges are checked in and out of a location, a reader system (stationary or handheld mobile device) quickly reads the integrated RFID tag and volser label either individually or within a cartridge carrying case. The reader system workstation automatically encrypts and posts the label information to the selected system software, which interfaces with the customers own traffic management system.

At a time when sensitivities around misplaced data are at all-time highs, this new tracking system increases the reliability of a companys inventory and more efficiently manages overall storage processes in the face of increasing and challenging compliance requirements, a company spokesperson said.

The cartridges—or case of cartridges—are then tracked via Imation partner B&L Associates VaultLedger or Vertices software. The DataGuard rf system provides list and audit reporting capabilities, the spokesperson said.

"On average, an organization backs up multiple terabytes of data to tape every week, if not every day," said Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance for The Clipper Group in Wellesley, Mass.

"Disaster recovery preparedness and compliance remain high priorities for IT, making the ability to track a tape cartridges whereabouts even more important to data center managers. Imations ground-breaking DataGuard rf tape tracking system will help ensure data centers are able to reliably account for their tape cartridges."

Pressure Increasing on Data Center Managers

The essential role of tape in the data center hasnt changed, but what has changed is the increasing pressure on data center managers, for reasons of compliance and governance, to be able to locate and retrieve data quickly, said James Milligan, general manager for Imations Commercial/OEM Division, in Oakdale, Minn.

"Todays more stringent information security and financial compliance laws, as well as audit requirements, are driving organizations to examine their processes for managing these assets," Milligan said. "In some cases, organizations are required to publicly disclose data loss or theft, which often results in negative exposure."

Intel joined the ranks of companies that found itself in hot water recently when it couldnt locate a number of e-mails that are considered relevant to a lawsuit involving its No. 1 marketplace rival, Advanced Micro Devices.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about Intels e-mail retention problems.

Later this year, Imation also expects to introduce additional functionality for the DataGuard rf system, including AGPS (assisted global positioning system) enabling of the DataGuard Transport and Storage Case, which will allow users to track the location of cases using cellular and GPS technology, the spokesperson said.

Imations DataGuard rf tape tracking system will be generally available in April, the spokesperson said. Pricing information was not available at this time.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...