A History of Tape: Still the Best Way to Store Lots of Data for a Long Time

5/21/13 | Posted by By Peri Grover, Director of Product Marketing

In today’s world where technology changes in a millisecond, not many technologies are able to truly withstand the test of time. With IT departments continually looking for new ways to cut costs while still improving network performance and ensuring data access over time, tape is one of the few technologies that has remained a vital part of corporate IT infrastructure.

Over the years many people have tried to write off tape as being outdated, difficult to use or unreliable; however, those users are typically thinking of past experiences with “old tape” vs. modern tape technology. With current Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology, “old tape” issues such as broken tapes, difficulty of use, slow data recovery and unrecoverable data are a thing of the past. Today’s tape technology is one of the most effective and reliable technologies for companies of all sizes to store large–even massive–amounts of data, while not only retaining but also accessing that data over long periods of time.

Let’s take a look at how far tape has come in the last 60 years…from 244kb on a huge, room-sized reel of tape in the 1950s, to 3PB in today’s modern tape libraries that are smaller than your refrigerator.

Far from being outdated, tape technology has continued to innovate and add not only incredible amounts of capacity, but also ever-greater speed and accessibility, enabling companies to utilize tape for long-term data archiving, as a back end for cloud storage, and even for Big Data storage. Next, I’ll be looking at WHY tape remains a critical part of the data protection infrastructure.

Leave a Reply