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Appeared on: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Tape Remains A Dominant Storage Medium

Although tape backup is generally not very well accepted by system administrators, managers or data center administrators, it will reside in our data centers for a while longer since its advantages outweigh its disadvantages.

Tape is here to stay and Kenneth Hess over the Enterprise Storage Forum web site is explaining why.

First of all, no other media comes close to the price of tape while it is also cheap to buy, to maintain and to store.

Tape is also offering high portability, it takes up little space and it has proven its durability (resistant to moisture and mildew and it's temperature-stable) since its widespread adoption in the 1950s. Of course, in order to be reliable and to operate with thousands of hours between failures, it should be used and stored correctly.

Tape has an almost unlimited media size because of the ability to span huge backups across multiple tapes and a tape drive consumes low power on a per-gigabyte (GB) or per-terabyte (TB) level.

Tape drives ALSO perform at very high speeds (for tape) in the range of 30 to 80MB/sec sustained and bursts to 300+MB/sec. Of course it doesn't break any speed records but for offloading from VTLs, speed is not a major concern.

Last but not least, backup automation is a huge advantage of tape backup for enterprises. Using autoloaders, tape backup systems can run continuously, which means backups may run with minimal human intervention.


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