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Tape Backup Solutions

Tape storage was used from the dawn of computers. First commercial computer UNIVAC used magnetic tape to store data. Since that time magnetic date storage technologies experienced drastic changes. While UNIVAC stored only 128 characters per inch of the magnetic tape most recent IBM and Sony tape cartridge is able to store 201 gigabyte per square inch for a total of 330 terabytes per cartridge.

Typically tape backup storage is used in large enterprise environments where there is a necessity to backup significant amount of data for a longer term. Modern tape cartridges used for backups could store data for 20-30 years without experiencing a data loss event.

Storing data on tape has multiple other benefits for enterprises besides data longevity. When storing data on tape it is only necessary to use electric energy to write data once. After that tape is stored until the moment data is needed again. In case of hard drive backup all hard drives used in backup will be spinning unless hot-swap technology is implemented. But to hot-swap a hard drive manual labor is required while in case of tape storage tapes are changed robotically. This makes tape storage more cost effective in most of the backup scenarios. With recent improvements in hard drive storage capacities it became possible for hard drives to compete with tape in some limited backup scenarios but since tape storage technologies were also improving tape still has the leading position in backup. In certain cases when financial information needs to be stored in a way guaranteeing no data tampering only tape provides necessary write-once and read-many technology required for it.

LTO (Linear Tape-Open) magnetic tape data storage technology is a widely recognized standard for storing data on tape. It was developed in 2000 and is still the most popular tape storage format. Modern LTO tape drives provide write capabity of 400-800MB/s (1.4-2.8TB/hr) and include encryption, compression and WORM (write-once, read-many) functionality. Single LTO cartridge can store up to 30TB of data and higher capacities are planned.

Certain tape backup solutions like tape drive are affordable even for small businesses and could provide an important component in a business backup strategy.