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Data Storage

Submission + - Why are tape drives not scaling with hard disks? 4

An anonymous reader writes: Every 3-6 months, we see an announcement about something adding to hard disk storage. However, tape drives don't seem to be improving on anywhere near the scale of hard disks.

Why is this? Both are magnetic media, and with a tape drive, a manufacturer has far more space to put data on than the platters of a hard disk, and still leave plenty of space for error correction data. Tape drives also don't spin nearly as fast as hard disks, so tolerances involved can be less.
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Why are tape drives not scaling with hard disks?

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  • As the cost of disk space plummets, the need for tape is reduced. There's a million ways to perform disk-to-disk [] backups with snapshots, everything from open source solutions to traditional vendors.
  • The main reason is USB and Firewire connections and portable external hard drives. A tape drive typically requires a connection inside the computer. I remember older ones that plugged into the floppy drive connector inside your computer. Installing the hardware was a pain. And so was installing the software. And if you want to restore to another machine, you have to buy another tapedrive, and install the hardware and software on the other machine. Because you're talking weirdo drivers, you're stuck
  • Look at how tape is stored. Layers of tape are wrapped around a spindle. One magnetic layer is touching the next. This is one of the big reasons why tapes degrade over time. Beyond a certain density, it becomes very hard to make a tape that will store data without losing it the first time it's wrapped around the spindle. Also, don't forget that tapes have to be exposed to oxygen (hard drive platters don't) and tolerate quite variable distances to the read/write head. These add up to some serious engin

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.