Friday, March 20, 2009

Tape Labeling in AMANDA

Alright, I'm once again appealing to people with more experience than I have.

Waist deep in learning AMANDA, I have questions about tape labeling. I'm attempting to find the best practices for labeling tapes, both physically (via barcode stickers on the tape) and the "logical" label written using the 'amlabel' command.

Anyone who knows better, please correct the following overview: For anyone who doesn't know (this included me 2 hours ago), AMANDA uses a program called 'amlabel' to write a label to the beginning of the tape so that it always knows which tape is inserted. It keeps records of every tape that it ever writes, so that in the future when you attempt to recover data, you can insert the specific tape that it asks for.

Since this electronic label can be in nearly any format, many people that I've seen commenting in various places have the knee-jerk reaction to label their tapes "Monday", "Tuesday", etc etc. Many of the old-timers discourage that, because if a tape runs over, you've screwed up the labeling system. Many people suggest "Daily1, Daily2, Daily3", etc etc.

My question is this: What are your tapes labeled, and do your AMANDA labels match the physical labels on your tapes? Also, if you have a barcode reader, do you order customized labels to take advantage of that, so that your barcode matches your AMANDA label, or do you have some sort of mapping between the two in a spreadsheet (or AMANDA itself)?

By the way, if you're looking for customized labels, I found that has some very configurable options. Color, # of characters, etc. Feel free to share your sources if you've got some suggestions!