Tape is back and better than ever


It's the oldest medium in digital computing storage, but magnetic tape is far from being relegated to the dustbin of history. Instead, it remains a stalwart avenue of affordable, lasting storage in many corporations, even when it comes to virtualized and video-focused environments, reports Computerworld's Stephen Lawson, in a lengthy and interesting article.

Even though tape is often viewed as slow, speeds are improving, analysts say. What's more, tape can be more cost-effective than hard disk drives, and use less power. In general, tape sales are falling, but individual implementations are becoming larger. For large enterprises that handle and store enormous data sets, tape may become even more important going forward.

Movie makers are heavy tape users, in part because they appreciate the security of a physical medium and also because filming is sometimes done in areas without the broadband infrastructure needed to transport huge video files, Lawson reports. Video requires a particularly great amount of storage capacity, and shipping tape can be less expensive than using the necessary wide-area network capacity. A movie in 3-D can amount to as much as 5 petabytes of data.

Despite the benefits of disk-based storage, tape is the primary form of backup at one-fourth of the enterprises--and it is used in some way by more than half of enterprises--surveyed recently by ESG. For archiving purposes--in which the data has to be stored for a long time but hardly ever used--tape is particularly attractive.

For more:
-see Stephen Lawson's article at Computerworld

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