What is magnetic tape

Magnetic tape has been used to store data for many years. In the past, it was often used to store photos, videos and music, but nowadays it is widely used to store backup copies due to its very high security and durability.

Magnetic tapes are made from different types of materials including metal, plastic, polymer and lubricants. They have a strong magnetism that helps them record data effectively.

In addition to their composition, it is important to know that they have two engraving formats: longitudinal and helical.

  • Longitudinal: It has a static transducer that records the data.
  • Helical: Instead of a static transducer, it has a rotating one, which makes recording faster. However, helical models wear out more quickly.

Future of magnetic tapes

When it comes to the future of magnetic tape, there are a few things we can expect.

First, advances in storage technology will likely lead to the use of more and more magnetic tapes. This will help save on storage costs, as well as reducing the time it takes to store a piece of data.

Secondly, advances in computer science and data processing will also help facilitate the use of magnetic tapes as backups and archiving tools.

And finally, advances in semiconductor technology will also make it easier than ever to create thinner and more durable tapes, reducing their size without changing their capacity.

What are the benefits of magnetic tapes?

Magnetic tape offers a number of benefits for data storage. For example, it is very durable and can be reused many times. They also have high speed, which enables fast and efficient data transmission.

In addition, magnetic tape can be used to store large amounts of data, making it an ideal choice for digital records or archives.

What are the benefits of using it for recording?

Using magnetic tape technology can help you record important memories and events.

Magnetic tape recording offers many advantages over other recording methods, such as its long life and high recording speeds. By preserving your recordings on magnetic tape, you can ensure that they last for many years.

In other words, with magnetic tapes you can:

  • Easily access and store your memories.
  • Store your data securely.
  • Keep your memories longer than other types of storage media.
  • Backup important data and information.

What are the benefits of using it for data transmission?

When transmitting information over a network, the use of magnetic tapes is the ideal choice as they have low latency rates, which means that information is not delayed unnecessarily during transfer between systems.

Care of magnetic tapes

Magnetic tapes need air with low relative humidity and low temperature, free of dust and corrosive gases, free of magnetic fields (motors, metal detectors, etc.).

And according to the technology, it is always necessary to inspect and maintain the internal components, such as the drive belt.

When generating the Backup, in order to have a good magnetic print and consequently, durability of the information, it is necessary to use a new tape and a tape unit with a magnetic head with little wear and clean.

If tapes are not stored correctly, the data on them can be lost. And if this happens, you will need a company that specialises in recovering magnetic tapes.

Magnetic tapes or hard drives. which is better for backup?

When it comes to cost effectiveness, the ability to store data is much more viable using magnetic tapes.

Using the discs constantly, as they are made of mechanical parts, will eventually stop working.

All devices have an expiry date, however many professionals do not pay attention to this.

Magnetic tapes also have the correct way of being stored, in no way can they remain in a horizontal position, they must remain in a vertical position, as recommended by the manufacturers.

Main types of connections:

There are various configurations to suit large, medium and small companies:

  • Standalone: which is a single simple tape drive
  • Autoloaders: Autoloader that stores more than one cartridge and has an automatic loading mechanism with LTO drive.
  • Library: Library that stores several cartridges and more than one drive in various sizes and capacities.

Tapes vs. Hybrid Cloud: Which is better for backup systems?

They are totally different systems, but if well managed they make a total difference in the storage computing environment and in data security.

Magnetic tapes have the data encryption system, which actually protects the data from possible hacker threats or a crime of stealing the tapes to try and access the data

Certainly when it is put to the test, if the encryption passwords are being managed in an appropriate place, the criminal will never have access to the data.

The hybrid clouds are part of a concept between public and private clouds, that is to say for the end user, it ends up not suffering so much, even for not knowing very well differentiate.

From the new technology in magnetic tapes named as hybrid magnetic tape, it makes as an integration between data centre environment and cloud with the tapes.

IBM together with Fujifilm is developing a new technology that is already revolutionising the market with its tape capable of storing 580 TB of data.

Something bigger and far beyond what was expected in time and space savings because of IBM’s new tape which is far superior to the last generation of LTO-8 tapes.

For data security, the LTO-8 Tape features AES 256-bit hardware encryption.

Also for data protection, LTO-8 can use WORM cartridges that can only be written to once, protecting the data from any overwriting.

All this facilitates the backup and restore process, eliminating the load on the host server.

How to take care of backup magnetic tape?

When the question is: Which data centre is the best for backup? Always consider tapes.

For, even though it is an old technology and for the newer enthusiasts, who still believe that everything will be virtualised, everything will be archived in the Cloud, you are wrong.

It will be a long time before any of the technologies already available reach the same level of storage capacity as tapes of this size, at a much lower cost.

With the capacity to store 580 TB of data, this is equivalent to large Data Centers, with several databases stored in the environment.

We are talking about proportions that if compared to HDDs, we would need hundreds of HDDs to achieve the same proportion.

As such, Tapes remain the best choice for low-cost data storage, even though it is more labour-intensive and has the common problems.

Although tapes have shrunk in size, are thinner mechanically speaking and are sometimes less weatherproof, they are still more resilient than a HD or SSD.

The magnetism of the current tapes, are much better, resistant, functional, because of the laser engraving on the tapes, which end up being impaired because of the hardware itself.

We always see that well cared for tapes last a long time, but players and recorders deteriorate and become obsolete in a short period of 10 years.

We need to take into account the best case scenario, where things are being managed well, where they are stored in the right way.

The older magnetic tape collections need much better readers to read and reproduce what is recorded.

There is no way, everything that is done in a non-excellent way, will always give problems, will deteriorate faster, will break down in less time.

It is worth noting that the tapes have a maximum limit of times that data can be recorded.

Always check the manufacturer’s manual for the maximum number of times it can be recorded (usually around 50 times).

With all these considerations, it is also worth remembering that the tapes need a safe environment, away from conduits, power wires or network cables, as this ends up spoiling the magnetism of the tapes.

Main problems of magnetic stripe

Physical Problems:

  • Tape part rupture: There is the possibility that a part of the tape, where the data is stored, may be broken, which will cause partial or complete loss of the data.
  • Enclosure breakage: When damage occurs to the place where the roll of tape is stored, this generates loss of data.
  • Damaged internal mechanism of the tape: The mechanism is the key part for the operation of the tape, so if it is damaged, it can harm the data.

Magnetic Problems:

  • Partial erasure of the tape: Data stored on the tape may be erased due to magnetic problems.
  • Read error: It is common in projects that we take over recovery, customers end up losing the write drive to do a proper read of the data.
  • Formatted tape: In cases of formatting without a backup made in advance, stored files may be lost.
  • Overwriting: When stored files end up being overwritten by another backup, data is lost.

Logical Problems:

  • Restore failure: As they are usually used for backup, there is a possibility of the files getting corrupted in the middle of restore.

In addition to recovery, we also carry out duplication and listing of files on magnetic tapes.

Magnetic tape duplication

Tape duplication is performed at Digital Recovery by equipment in optimal physical and magnetic condition and always using new tapes from approved manufacturers to ensure a quality recording to store your information.

The duplicate tape is identical to the output tape. The service is performed without restoring the recorded files and for this reason it is independent of the backup software. The logical information is not accessed, copied or transformed.

Duplication can be made to the same type of tape or to another of newer technology, e.g. the input tape is SDLT-600 and will be duplicated to LTO-8.

Listing files on magnetic tape

The data listing service is offered to customers who only wish to list the contents of their tapes.

It is necessary that the tape is in good condition for use without the occurrence of reading errors. This service lists all the files contained on the media with their respective dates and size.

Types of magnetic tapes supported

Here is a list of existing and upcoming magnetic tapes:

DAT (Digital Audio Tape) tapes:

Introduced in late 1980 by Sony, the tape can store up to 320GB of compressed data.

DAT 4 millimetres:

  • DDS 60m
  • DDS-1 90m
  • DDS-2
  • DDS-3
  • DDS-4
  • DAT72
  • DAT Sony (DDS 3)
  • DAT 320 Sony (DDS)

8 millimetre DAT tapes:

  • DAT 320
  • DAT160
  • Exabyte VXA X23 (230m)
  • Exabyte VXA X10 (124m)
  • Exabyte VXA X6 (62m)
  • Exabyte VXA V23 (230m)
  • Exabyte VXA V17 (170m)
  • Exabyte VXA V10 (120m)
  • Exabyte VXA V6 (62m)
  • Exabyte 112m MP Data Cartridge
  • Exabyte 160 mXL MP Cartridge Data
  • Exabyte 22m AME Dice Cartridge
  • Exabyte 125m AME Dice Cartridge
  • Exabyte 170m AME Dice Cartridge
  • Exabyte 75m AME with SmartClean
  • Exabyte 150m AME with SmartClean
  • Exabyte 225m AME with SmartClean

AIT (Advanced Intelligent Tape) tape:

Launched in its first version in 1996, with each new model, storage is doubled. Its storage can reach up to 400 GB on a single tape.

  • AIT SDX 5-400W
  • AIT SDX 5-400C
  • AIT SDX 4-200W
  • AIT SDX 4-200C
  • AIT SDX3X-150C
  • SDX3 AIT-100W
  • AIT SDX 3-100 C
  • AIT SDX 2-50W
  • AIT-50 C SDX2
  • AIT SDX1-35C
  • AIT SDX 1-25C
  • AIT TAIT 2-80C
  • AIT TAIT 2-80 N
  • AIT TAIT 1-40C
  • AIT TAIT1-40N
  • AIT Taiti-20N

DLT (Digital Line Tape) tape:

Developed in 1984, it is supplied by Fujifilm, Hitachi/Maxell and also Imation. Its storage can reach up to 800 GB on a single tape.

  • DLT Tape III
  • DLT Tape IIIXT
  • DLT Tape IV
  • DLTtape VS1
  • SDLT I
  • SDLT II
  • DLT S4-

Tapes QIC / MLR / SLR:

  • DC 6150
  • DC 6525
  • DC9120
  • DC9250
  • SLR5
  • MLR1-2GB
  • MLR1-13GB
  • MLR1-16GB
  • MLR3
  • SLR 60
  • SLR100
  • SLR 140
  • SLR 200
  • SLR 400

Fitas LTO (Linear Tape-On):

  • LTO-1 – Maximum storage capacity 200 GB (Compressed)
  • LTO-2 – 400 GB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-3 / LTO-3 WORM – Maximum storage capacity 800 GB (Compressed)
  • LTO-4 / LTO-4 WORM – 1.6 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-5 / LTO-5 WORM – 3 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-6 / LTO-6 WORM – 6.25 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-7 / LTO-7 WORM – 15 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-8 / LTO-8 WORM – 30 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-9 / LTO-9 WORM – 45 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)
  • LTO-10 / LTO-10 WORM – Maximum storage capacity 90 TB (Compressed)
  • LTO-11 / LTO-11 WORM – Maximum storage capacity 180 TB (Compressed)
  • LTO-12 / LTO-12 WORM – 360 TB maximum storage capacity (Compressed)

IBM Mainframe Tapes USED in:

  • 3420 Roll Tape – 800, 1600, 3200 and 6250 bpi
  • Cartridges 3480, 3490, 3490 E, 3592
  • 3570, 3570 B, 3570C and 3570 CXL cartridges
  • Cartridges 3590, 3590 B, 3590E, 3590 H
  • Cartridges 3592 and 3592 J1A

Tapes Sun / StorageTek OSU los Mainframe:

  • 9840, 9840A, 9840B, 9840C cartridges
  • Cartridges 9940, 9940 A, 9940 B

TRAVAN tapes:

  • TR1, TR2, TR3, TR4, TR5

Data portability in Tapes

Data portability on magnetic tapes is the migration of data stored on an old tape to a tape with current technology. Data portability is vital for data availability.

When data is stored on legacy tape, data access can be impaired because the tools to access the data are extremely specific, and if these tools are not available, the data is inaccessible.

Not only that, the latest tapes have considerably increased storage capacity, what used to be stored on several tapes can be stored on just one, making administration easier.

Let’s list the advantages of data portability for a newer magnetic tape.

  • Data available quickly – The availability of data in a timely manner is vital for any business as, data is the backbone in an organisation.
  • Data stored in current technologies – As the years go by, technologies evolve to better adapt to the client’s use. Magnetic tapes have gone through this evolution, for example, LTO tapes already have 10 generations, this is a clear evolution of its technologies. This evolution has led to increased security of stored data.
  • High traceability of information – With portability to newer technology, data mapping becomes easier.
  • Value to keep tapes stored – The new generations of magnetic tapes have brought to the expansion of the storage capacity, increasing considerably the amount of memory available, which, by itself, drastically reduces the need for a large amount of tapes, which demand high values for storage, with the decrease of tapes used, there is also the reduction of the storage cost.
  • Decentralised and less complex control – Decreasing the number of tapes used makes control easier, as it makes administration of the tapes in backup simpler.
  • Adequacy to GDPR – The General Data Protection Regulation Act regulates how companies handle customer data. It requires companies to have easy access to data, meaning companies need high availability of files, including backups. New magnetic tape technologies offer this.
  • Replication environment – With the number of tapes reduced the replication of stored data becomes simpler and faster.
  • Compliance – With the reduction in the amount of tapes, the application of the company’s internal protocols becomes easier to execute.
  • Auditing – With the reduction of backup media, auditing becomes simpler and faster.

Magnetic Tape Recovery

We at Digital Recovery have gained national prominence in the area of tape recovery.

In our laboratory we have technicians specialized in LTO, DAT, DDS, AIT and other tapes, whose exclusive focus is the constant development and improvement of methods and technologies to recover data, thus being able to bring a unique differential in our service.

Our mission is to meet the real needs of each client in any type of problem; be it a physical, magnetic or logical defect.

As a business, we know the importance of having backup. And as many of these are stored on magnetic tapes due to their security and capacity, being without this data can become extremely damaging.

With this in mind, our team of experts is at your disposal. We are willing to operate in emergency mode, where our labs can operate 24×7 so that data is recovered as quickly as possible.

Talk to one of our experts in the language of your choice and find out more.

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