Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
Tape backup is a traditional backup procedure that uses magnetic tape or any tape cartridge as the storage device. Enormous amounts of data in the hard disk can be duplicated into the tape such that in the event of an unfortunate hard disk crash, the data can be restored. Although end users already prefer disk or online backup storage, tape backup continues to exist in large enterprises because of its archival stability.
Tape backup started in the 1980s but was largely abandoned in favor of disk backup by the late 1990s because disks are faster and can store a lot more data. A tape drive uses a sequential access kind of storage. This means that groups of stored data are accessed in a prearranged and methodical sequence, making it hard to selectively find data that may be in the middle of the tape spool. Because it is only capable of this kind of storage access, tape drives lose in terms of searching time when compared to disk drives, which use random access storage methods. Random access storage accesses data at a random position in a sequence regardless of the sequence size. This makes it faster than sequential access.
For consumers and small business end users, tape backup is a very impractical solution, yet it continues to serve as an ideal storage solution for archiving and disaster recovery purposes for large organizations, or enterprise as part of a storage area network (SAN) solution. In fact, most of the world’s information is stored on tape because of its high reliability. This is why storage device manufacturers continue to develop and enhance tape storage technology by increasing its storage performance and capacity. A few examples of this include the Onstream USB tape drive for PC tape backup and the Linear Tape-Open (LTO), an open-format storage technology for enterprise tape backup.