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The Importance of Tape in an Increasingly Data-Rich World

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It isn’t talked about much, but tape is more important in today’s world of exploding data collection and storage than it was decades ago. Enterprise tape is now able to store 10 TB for eachcartridge at 360 MB/sec. Tape libraries have reached an astounding capacity of more than one exabyte. Magnetic particle technology allows an area data density of 123 billion bits per square inch, which means an LTO cartridge can store as much as 220 TB of uncompressed data. The need and demand for tape has been on the rise for many reasons:


Increase in regulation and improvements in technology have increased the demand to store data indefinitely. Tape is crucial to backup of data and recovery after a disaster, and plays a significant role in cloud storage.

Increased demand for more efficiency and greater capacity in data storage is driving the manufacture of tape media, drive and management software.

Tape is economical compared to other storage methods, and is becoming preferred for archiving, especially active archiving, to search, store and retrieve data easily.

New Uses for Tape in a Changing Tech Landscape

The space-saving benefits of tape are clear from its use with NAS. When data comes into a NAS disk cache it is written to the tape; once the cache is full it dumps the oldest files and uses metadata to link to the data on the tape. Searches conducted for files work just as before, only now when a read request occurs, the file is moved back from the tape to the disk cache. Users will not even realize that a different storage process is being used, which prevents costly user familiarization.

IT managers are looking for new ways to use tape to take advantage of the efficiency and operational value of its use. Venture capital is increasingly being funneled into this industry to discover new methods of use and innovative designs. This activity is likely to propel tape from just a medium of data backup to a primary form of storage for unprecedented amounts of data.

Analysts now believe that data storage will amount to 5,200 GB per person worldwide by the year 2020. As tape is cheaper and more energy efficient, it is predictable that this form of storage will be experiencing an exponential increase in use in the years to come. As new tape designs are researched and developed, this growth may even reach to the personal computer use market.



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