Magnetic tape is undoubtedly the most common medium used for backup copying. Magnetic tape can be used for both servers and workstations. Nowadays, backup copying of large systems is done almost exclusivelywith magnetic tape. There are several reasons for this.
Magnetic tape has a very high capacity, and its capacity is steadily increasing. Large amounts of data can be stored on a physically small tape.
Magnetic tapes are reasonably priced, both drives and cassettes. Since this is in practice the universal method used for backup copying of servers, both drives and media are produced on a large scale. This brings down their cost. The price per MB works out far lower than for any other medium. A good, stable tape drive can be bought for a few hundred pounds.
Magnet tape drives are easy to install in servers. Tape drives generally use SCSI. Magnetic tapes are relatively universal. There are few compatibility problems, both with the cassettes to fit the drives and with the softwarethat controls backup copying.
The quality of storage on magnetic tape is reasonable. This is the greatest problem with tape, and it has often resulted in companies losing data. It is important to be clear about this and to take the proper measures. Magnetic tapes must not be used for long periods. They may become worn and unreadable, so that they do not work well when data is to be restored. If tape drives are maintained in accordance with the instructions and if cassettes are replaced regularly, the medium can be relied on. The quality of the various types differs greatly, and this is of course reflected in the price.
Published on Sun 12 April 1998 by Tracey Mann in Computer Science with tag(s): magnetic tape