Tape Drives - the Preferred Backup Media of Companies

By: James Walsh

Over the years, tape drive has proven to be the most reliable storage media of choice, for big and small businesses. Despite the incessant predictions about the death of the tape drives in the years to come, they are still popular. Tape automation is an approximately $ 2.03 billion business. In the year 2002, about 153,000 tape automation units were sold all over the world. In the coming years, the market for tape drives is expected to grow by 11 percent. Considering the given statistics, tape drives are here to stay and will continue to play a major role in backing up the voluminous corporate data over the years.

Expectations from Good Storage Media

For a backup media to be widely popular and acceptable, is required to fulfill certain expectations on the part of the end users. A good backup media aught to be reasonably reliable, always accessible, user friendly and fast. Any authentic backup media should have a relatively long life span and should be hardy. It should offer a high speed, so far as the writing and storage of data is concerned. A popular media should be easily available in the market, at a reasonable price, so as to fit in the budget of all type of customers. It should be easily accessible at the hour of need for disaster recovery purposes. It should be easy to use and must not demand any special knowledge and expertise on the part of the user. A backup media of choice must be compatible with the existing hardware and should not be in the risk of becoming obsolete in the near future. A dependable backup media should be handy and portable, so that it may be transported and stored at any off site location. Tape drives have so far qualified most of the above mentioned requirements expected from a friendly backup media.

Advantages of Using a Tape Drive

1) Low Cost

In a tape drive the data is stored magnetically in sequential sectors along the entire length of the tape. Hence it offers a low cost per gigabyte of storage. Because of being cost effective, tape drive is very popular with the firms running on a budget.

2) Proven Media

Tape drive has proven its efficiency and utility over the years. Businesses prefer top stay with this media owing to its good track record, performance and history.

3) Flexible

While using a tape drive for backup, the number of tapes can be increased according to the volume of the data and as per the requirements of the user.

4) Variety

Tape drives come in a wide range of format and offer multiple options to the user, so far as the choice of backup media is concerned.

5) High Storage Capacity

Tape drive has a very high storage capacity to accommodate large volumes of data generated by corporate houses.

6) Long Shelf Life

A magnetic tape has a shelf life of approximately thirty years. Though it is not very high as compared to the more contemporary devices like flash drives, but, still it is enough to fulfill the requirements of most of the big and small businesses.

7) Portable

Magnetic tapes are handy and portable. They can be easily shipped and transported to off site locations for storage and archival purposes.

8) Recyclable

Tape media can easily be degaussed and recycled for further use. The companies can cut their backup costs by approximately thirty percent, by using the recycled tape media.

9) Easy to Setup

It does not require high level of expertise to install a tape driven backup facility. Once installed, it is very easy to use and can be automated to facilitate the saving of time and efforts on the part of the user.

10) Tape libraries

A tape library is an automatic device consisting of one or more tape drives and a large number of tape slots. It uses a robotic arm to swap tapes, as per the directions of the main computer. This ultimately leads to saving of time and effort and makes data backup an easy job.

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