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Tape storage may not be dead after all - Life is strange...

May. 16th, 2006

01:50 pm - Tape storage may not be dead after all

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Hi!

Years ago (1995-1998) when I was at SGI, one of the main things I did was deal with digital storage tapes and robotic jukeboxes for same. I owned the technical relationship that SGI had with Legato (of NetWorker fame) at the time. Tape as a storage medium has been fading for quite a while; in fact, many have been saying the we should just use disks for everything and stop using tapes altogether.

Tape is undeniably slower to access, and the cost per bit stored of disk drive data has dropped precipitously in recent years, to almost reach the same per-bit cost of tape. Today's tape cost is $75/400Gb (uncompressed) = 18 3/4 cents per Gb of LTO3 tape. Today's hard drive cost is $205/400Gb = 51 1/4 cents per Gb of USB/FireWire removable hard drive. Of course, we also need a tape drive to read and write the tape (a little more than $2,200 today). The tape robot units we buy at my current company have 2 of these drives and 29 slots into which tapes can be put when not in use, all for about $21k apiece.

But this doesn't tell the whole story, at all:

The reason I bring this up today is that IBM recently announced a very real increase (~15x) in the storage density possible on a tape. I love technology.

Cheers! generalist

Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: co-worker babble

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:ironkite
Date:May 17th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC)
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You think there will be a firmware update for my VIC-20 tape drive that'll make it hold more data?

Pretty soon they'll have stone tablets that can write at those speeds. I think our IT department uses a workstudy instead of a robot to switch tapes. For us the workstudy is cheaper.
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