Magnetic tape happens to be one of the oldest and most reliable recording technologies ever created. It uses a spool of linearly oriented tape that is composed of several layers, including a magnetic layer, that passes under a read-write head to record binary bit info into tracks.
As time has progressed, tape cartridges have improved by leaps and bounds. Newest versions, such as the LTO-6 can be used much like disks. Data can be written and retrieved faster than ever.
Another key discovery was IBM and Fujifim’s discovery and use of barium ferrite (BaFe). It is a relatively new tape media coating technology and magnetic particle that lends to tape’s reliability, stability, and efficiency.
While there are several types of tape available, LTO tape is quickly emerging as the leader of the pack. Small, medium, and semi-large organizations are continuing to adopt LTO for data archiving and more.
According to Fujifilm, the past 12 years have seen more than 4 million LTO tape drives and nearly 200 million cartridges shipped. The LTO-6 boasts of 6.25 TB of compressed capacity and an impressive transfer rate of 400 MB/sec.
Beyond LTO tape, other popular tape formats include Oracle’s Sun/STK tape drive and cartridge (for huge organizations), the T10000C (which is much faster than LTO tape and hold quite a bit more data), and IBM’s TS1140 (which rivals Oracle’s Sun/STK in both speed and cost).
Why Tape is Not Dead
Tape isn’t dead for a number of very relevant reasons:
1. It is cost-effective. Disk only solutions tend to be much more expensive.
2. It is reliable. Tape is the most data storage medium on the market.
3. It lasts for 30 years and more. When stored in a stable environment, you can be sure that tape will last for decades.
4. It can’t be hacked. Disks can be hacked and are susceptible to bugs, while tape is stored offline and can’t be touched — unless of course a tape gets into the wrong hands.
5. Tape is recyclable.
Experts are still predicting that tape will play a much larger role in the near future. Organizations are learning the hard way that data can be wiped from disks and lost from the cloud. Backing up data on tape is a must.
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