Magnetic Tape Storage

Never give up on a good thing!
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As our increasing need for mass storage of data continues, the revival of a 60 year-old technology, which only a few years ago was written off by all in the industry, is offering a solution to a modern problem.

Magnetic tape is one of the oldest computer storage mediums still in use. It was first used to record computer data on a UNIVAC computer in 1951. Despite predictions on the demise of tape storage, tape is very much alive and reinventing its strong identity as a storage medium that can provide many benefits, particularly for the long-term preservation and storage of data.

According to recent statistics, tape sales have been falling since 2008 and dropped by 14% in 2012, its decline has now gone into reverse with sales expecting to rise by 3% over the next year.

In spite of the advancement of new technologies customers should continue to consider tape for long-term archiving and data retention needs. Why? – well, tape is dependable, relatively cheap and lasts longer. Tapes can still be read reliably after three decades, as opposed to five years for disks.

Because of its reliability and associated low costs, tape is a great solution to archiving and storing unstructured data. Experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of the data in any organisation is unstructured. Unstructured data is a generic label for describing any corporate information that is not in a database such as email messages, PowerPoint presentations and Word documents: the type of data generated by millions of enterprises every day and perfectly suited to back up on to magnetic tape.

Tape has several advantages over hard disks for the long-term preservation of data. The first is speed; extracting data from a tape is about four times as fast as reading from a hard disk.

Secondly, if a tape snaps it can be spliced back together. Although some loss may occur, it is minimal compared to a hard disk failure, which would result in all the data being lost.

No power is required to preserve the data held on tape and it is more secure than a hard disk. A hacker could delete disk-based data in minutes but would need years to delete the same amount from a tape.

As data continues to grow at a rapid pace and the needs of organisations change, tape will play an ever important role, not only in managing data effectively but in maintaining IT budgets.

In addition to its use for backup and retrieval, offsite secure storage of data on tape is the primary element in most disaster recovery and business contingency plans, without which your business would be left in ruins. Developing the collaboration between safe, secure storage and tape as a backup medium, generates the ideal partnership.

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