I've been working through some serious drive failure problems with a couple of large clients and we've uncovered a very bad thing WRT LTO-5 media and archiving operations. If you use LTO-5 for archival (LTFS or normal data, regardless of platform of drive manufacturer), please read the following statement and ask questions here.
An important discovery concerning LTO-5 media has come to light over the past few weeks. In cooperation with HP's tape engineering labs, we've discovered that some brands of recently available LTO-5 media are too rough and can cause undue head wear; specifically when used for archival tasks where a new tape is used for each job - meaning that each job gets a brand new tape instead of backup scenarios where tapes are regularly reused and overwritten. We've worked with HP, and through them, the major media vendors and a new formulation has been produced that reduces this issue to inconsequential. The new formulation is much smoother in the case of a new tape and head wear is greatly reduced providing the more expected life cycle of the drives when the drives are used in an archival environment.Indications of this problem to watch for include drives that start running more slowly on the same type and amount of data and situations where you get less than the rated capacity of a tape. Both of these can be indicative of a high/increased bit error rate (BER). If you suspect you are witnessing this type of issue, if you have an HP drive, you can test the drive using HP'S L&TT utility's "Drive Assessment Test".
It is important that you consider any non-HP or Fujifilm branded media as potentially harmful when used in an archival environment and you should consider replacing any other media with HP or Fujifilm branded media immediately. While the other brands are safe for normal backup rotation utilization, they should not be used for archival operations as described above.
With the formulation changes made and the effort that HP has put into a proper resolution, we have switched to HP-branded media as our stocked brand of LTO-4 and LTO-5 media. While we still support and recommend Fujifilm LTO-5 media, our partnership with HP through this has proven very important in insuring that our customers are getting the best solution available for backup and archival use.
Hopefully, you haven't been bitten by this excessive head wear issue and will be able to adjust your media purchases to protect both your drives and your data. Most of the manufacturers consider this type of damage to fall outside of normal use and will not honor your drive warranty in this situation.