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Data Protection System

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Data Protection System (DPS)

A Quantum White Paper

Introduction

Considering that data and information are the lifeblood of all computing, data loss is one of the worst afflictions that can plague computer users. PC users who do not frequently back up their files are especially at risk. Worse, most users do not realize that in an era of increasingly reliable hard disk drives, HDDs are often not the source of system problems. So when users misidentify the HDD as the culprit and return a fully functional drive, they incur avoidable data loss. They also experience impaired productivity as they wait for the drive to be exchanged.

Avoidable data loss and unnecessary drive returns also prove extremely costly for system OEMs, integrators, resellers, and distributors. By increasing drive shipping, examination, and return processing costs, such returns increase the overall expense of establishing and maintaining service and support infrastructures for these organizations. At stake, too, is the supplier’s reputation: Drive returns can translate into severe impediments to repeat and expanding business, as well as to maintenance of customer satisfaction.

Quantum’s new Data Protection System (DPS) helps prevent both avoidable data loss and loss of customer goodwill. As such, it provides significant benefits to PC users as well as the entire supply chain.

The Problem

To gain a better understanding of the problem that Quantum’s DPS solves, consider the following scenario:

A PC user’s system has been behaving strangely for some time. A particular application freezes without warning, then proceeds to just "hang" on the user’s PC screen. The only way the user can get back to work is by shutting down and rebooting the computer. Upon rebooting, any new data not saved to the hard drive is lost. Time is squandered and productivity declines. This occurs repeatedly until, finally, the system completely fails and refuses to reboot. Most users then assume that the problem must be with the hard drive. They believe the only alternative left is to disable the system, return the drive, and wait impatiently for a replacement.

Meanwhile, all work done after the last backup is lost, assuming that a backup was done at all. To make matters worse, the system supplier’s comprehensive testing shows that nothing is wrong with the hard drive. The problem lies with some other system component, as yet undetermined. The result of all this is not only lost productivity, but also the loss of every bit of information stored on -- what turned out to be -- a healthy drive.

This scenario is all too familiar. Major system OEMs consistently find that more than 40 percent of hard drives returned by customers show no failure when tested. This means the PC user needlessly parts with his or her hard drive and, more important, all of his or her data. To avoid this kind of data loss, an easy and fast method for PC users to determine whether their hard drive is the source of a system failure is needed.

The Solution:

Quantum’s Data Protection System (DPS)

Quantum’s DPS – the latest in a series of Quantum innovations -- is that solution. DPS is a simple and highly effective means of testing the health of Quantum desktop hard drives. Focusing on the most critical of user needs, DPS is aimed at enhancing the overall reliability of desktop PC storage systems and at protecting a user’s most valuable asset ¾ data.

DPS also protects and enhances customer satisfaction for systems integrators, distributors, resellers, and OEMs. "Considering that the vast majority of returned drives are not defective, Quantum's Data Protection System offers a significant advantage to all that implement it. This feature will allow HP to offer superior customer service while lowering our total cost," said Frederic Poux, Technical Account Manager, Hewlett-Packard, Grenoble.

Addressing the Entire Customer Base

"Innovative" is a highly apt way to describe Quantum’s approach to drive testing-on-the-desktop. Quantum is the first hard drive manufacturer to proactively address the need to protect not only new HDD users, but also Quantum’s current installed base, against avoidable data loss. This underscores the company’s overriding commitment to safeguard information for all its customers, not just those who purchase the latest Quantum products.

Quantum’s DPS is the only tool designed to perform its task on both the older, existing field population of PC hard drives and its new hard drives. All Quantum ATA desktop drives manufactured in the last 2.5 years, including the entire Quantum Bigfoot product family and Quantum Fireball product family beginning with the Fireball TM, can be tested with DPS.

For customers using earlier Quantum ATA drives, DPS is available free of charge as a standalone program. This program can be obtained through the web sites of Quantum, its channel partners, and its OEM partners. In fact, several OEM partners will incorporate Quantum’s DPS in their system tools CD-ROMs. For users of Quantum Fireball and Fireball Plus hard disk drives introduced after January 1999, DPS will be embedded in the new drives’ firmware.

Unlike competitive products, Quantum’s DPS goes beyond generic tests and uses vendor-specific commands to "exercise" PC-resident hard drives. These commands initiate advanced and proven tests, developed by Quantum, to ensure the quality and reliability of its hard drives. Hence DPS is optimally designed to provide Quantum users with the highest level of confidence in testing desktop drives.

Built Into Newest Drives

Available on Floppy/ Web

Backward Compatibility for 2.5 Years of Products

Determines if Drive is Source of System Problem

Diagnostics Built on HDD Specific Factory Tests

Quantum's DPS

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

IBM's DFT

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

WD's DataLifeguard

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Maxtor's MaxSafe*

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Seagate SeaShield/ Drive Sell Test (DST)

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

How the Quantum DPS Works

As noted previously, "easy" and "fast" are key requirements for any method to determine if a disk drive is the source of a system failure. Quantum’s DPS readily meets these demands.

DPS Quick Test

  • When a system problem occurs, users simply boot from a floppy disk containing DPS. For Quantum drives introduced after January 1999, typing a simple set of commands provided by the system supplier will initiate the test. Or, if the problem is so catastrophic that there’s no other way to start the system, users can still employ the bootable floppy.


  • DPS performs a Quick Test that exercises the hard drive. In addition, DPS checks every sector in the drive’s buffer and examines the first 300 megabytes of data stored on the drive, where the operating system and other critical system utilities are typically stored.


  • Within 90 seconds, the Quick Test is complete. The results confirm whether the hard drive is the source of the system failure.


DPS Extended Test

If the DPS Quick Test results find no errors in the first 300 megabytes of data and the system continues to malfunction, the end user can run the DPS Extended Test. This test performs all Quick Test functions, and it also examines all additional data areas to verify whether the hard drive is the source of the problem. The time required for the Extended Test depends on the capacity of the drive, but never exceeds 20 minutes.

Summary

Quantum's DPS helps prevent avoidable data loss. By determining whether the drive is the source of a system-level failure, DPS spares users from unnecessarily removing and replacing a perfectly healthy drive. Valuable data is protected and productivity maintained. Systems integrators, distributors, resellers, and OEMs also benefit from reducing their service costs and -- most importantly -- maintaining the goodwill of their customers. Quantum’s DPS thus provides a comprehensive solution to avoidable data loss for desktop computer users and their suppliers alike.

 


See Also