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Tape Drive Optimizer Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248330D
Publication Date: 2016-Nov-15
Document File: 4 page(s) / 28K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method and associated tool to generate a heat map of tape drive utilization in order to provide insights for better utilizing tape drive resources, thus balancing jobs and reducing costs in an Information Technology (IT) environment.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 38% of the total text.

Page 01 of 4

Tape Drive Optimizer

Information Technology environments are challenged to reduce costs. One solution is to maximize resource utilization.

In Backup and Recovery environments, backup and restore as well as administrative processes concurrently use tape drive resources. Those processes do not spend the exact same amount of time every day, which means that some jobs complete earlier or later than expected. This variance in execution times is generated by several factors such as the utilization of resources on the server where the job is running, disk response times, resource utilization in the backup server and so forth. Having different execution times along with current methods for scheduling jobs on backup tools, with fixed start times, directly impacts tape drive utilization rates.

In an example of the existing process, given a library with two tape drives:

 Job1 starts at 14:00, uses two tape drives and usually consumes one hour

 Job2 starts at 15:00, uses one tape drive and usually consumes one hour

Job1 starts, and completes in 15 minutes, which makes available two tape drive resources. Job 2 is waiting, unaware that Job 1 completed and that tape drive resources are available. Two tape drives idle for 15 minutes. One hour after Job 1 began, Job 2 starts. One hour and 10 minutes later, Job 2 completes.

The lack of awareness of tape drive utilization combined with the actual job scheduling process results in the inability to take full advantage of tape drive resources. Maximizing tape drive utilization can avoid having tape drive resources idling while jobs are waiting for resources to run.

The current mitigation process is manual. Tape drive utilization is verified and job schedules are manually adjusted to better use resources.

The novel solution is a method and associated tool to generate a heat map of tape drive utilization. In addition to the heat map information, the tool considers the scheduled

jobs' average duration, the number of required resources, the amount of data transferred, etc. The analysis identifies periods during which some tape drive resources are available for jobs to use. The tool also identifies the most appropriate time to start a specific job. The tool generates job schedule proposals based on historic/average data or automatically adjusts schedules based on real-time tape drive utilization.

The tool provides two options:

 A proposed schedule based on tape drive availability as well as insights for specific jobs.

 A real-time schedule adjustment based on tape drive utilization

A script has to be developed to collect tape drive utilization as well as jobs information. This script has to be set up on the backup server or media server, when applicable.


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The script is executed to collect the following information:

 For tape drives

- List of available/configured tape drives on the backup tool, including each tape drive model

- Tape drive information such as its status (i.e., bu...