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Data Center, Server & Storage Solutions

Magnetic tape rears its ugly head again

Data backup on tape, frequently written off, is alive and well – sales of magnetic tape shot up to new record levels last year.

03 Apr. 2018 Roland Freist

For years disk-to-disk backups and replication have been the main focus of discussion. And yet the three magnetic tape producers in the LTO Group can look back on a successful year, as they report in their Tape Media Shipment Report . In 2017 Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Quantum together delivered cartridges with a total capacity of 108,457 petabytes – 12.9% more than in the previous year and thus a new record.

This is due, on the one hand, to the new LTO-8-drives (Linear Tape-Open), which came onto the market at the end of last year. They can record up to 12 terabytes of uncompressed data or 30 terabytes of compressed data and reach speeds of 300 MB/s. But they can also handle LTO-7 cartridges, onto which they can write up to 9 terabytes (22 terabytes compressed) of data.

The second reason for the unexpected popularity of tape technology, according to the manufacturer’s assessment, is data security. Last year the security debate was dominated by the discussion about ransomware attacks. Transferring data onto tapes provides reliable protection against this form of attack.