The Last Resort: Streamer Technolgy Overview


By recording in packets instead of tracks, media effects hurt VXA much less. Source: ExaByte.

The VXA standard, made by ExaByte, has the capacity to adjust the tape speed to the maximum speed of the host, thus eliminating unnecessary stops, winding processes and repetitions.

VXA typically breaks down the long data streams into smaller units and, in the end, writes onto the Discrete Packet Format on the tape, which is supposed to promote data consistency. DPF uses a buffer to efficiently organize the writing process onto the tape. In addition, ECC checks in horizontal, vertical and in diagonal direction are used for every packet.

Each packet is 64 Bytes, and each track can handle 387 packets. If one of them was written onto improperly, the writing process is repeated at the next possible occasion, at a different position.

This means that VXA drives work efficiently and offer a high degree of data security in case of media defects. In fact, the VXA standard has proven to be safe; reportedly, even data on tapes that were immersed in water could be restored (although we did not test that claim in our lab).

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