Quantum Corp is set to release new software for its DLTape line of storage drives that are designed to warn users when their backup tapes are about to go on the blink.

The new software, called DLTSage, will interpret the tape drive's error correction code messages and then decide whether errors are being caused by the tape or the drive itself. The software issues a "yelllow-light condition" when tapes are on the verge of wearing out, giving users an early warning before serious problems occur, said Quantum senior director of product marketing and strategy Steve Berens.

Quantum will release the first two components of the new DLTSage suite for free download on its Web site on Monday (21July). The first component, iTalk, will let users of Quantum's high-end line of Super DLTtape drives run these diagnostics over an infrared link. The second, called xTalk, will work with both Super DLTtape drives and the lower-cost Value DLTtape drives, and will communicate via standard storage interfaces like SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) or Fibre Channel.

A third, Web-based, component called eTalk will be rolled out within the next year, Berens said.

DLTSage will ship with all of Quantum's DLTtape products starting with the SDLT 600, which will ship by the beginning of the fourth quarter this year, Berens said.