Sony AIT tape technology

Spotlights on MIC

Memory-In-Cassette (MIC) provides a direct and immediate connection to the AIT drive's on-board processors to enable quick media load, fast access to user files, multiple on-tape load and unload points, and a wealth of data about the history and current state of the data cartridge.

The customer benefits of MIC include:

Faster Access Speed

  • Load acceleration (20 sec without MIC, <10 sec with MIC)
  • Unload acceleration (27 sec without MIC, 17 sec with MIC)
  • Search speed acceleration (225MB/s to 450MB/s)
  • Improved average file access time (from 57 sec to <27 sec)

The MIC information consists of data written at the time of manufacture; data written when the media is first loaded into an AIT drive; portions updated as part of a read, write, or load sequence; and finally, portions that can be written directly by a user's application. In addition, media history data is saved, even if the cassette was initialized, and data is read directly from the MIC—not from the tape's system log area.

Improved Access to Data
The total information now contained within the MIC can be widely used to enhance tape subsystem benefits for users. The first area of benefit is improved access to data through the use of the drive-generated, high-speed search map. This map contains positioning information that allows the AIT drive to provide a high-speed, bidirectional search using the 120 inches per second speed mode previously used only for cartridge rewind. Once the drive reaches the tape segment identified by the MIC information, its speed drops to the standard search speed of 60 inches per second and it locates the tape's precise position by reading the identifier blocks directly from the tape. This technique can reduce the average file access time to as little as 27 seconds, a 50% improvement.

Data Integrity
The system log pages capture significant media and data integrity statistics such as load counts, access counts, and error correction counts (ECC). MIC provides the host application with a "line of sight" to important statistics regarding the integrity of the media and its content. Media management software can utilize this information and copy and retire media volumes approaching the tape or in a database; the MIC contents are always maintained directly with the media but separated from the tape itself. Furthermore, the MIC contents are always available—even if the media is reinitialized for a new application.

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