Even with the emergence of cloud storage, digital magnetic tapes are still widely in use today. Numerous enterprises have been using them for decades and look to tape as a solution for the ever-growing Big Data.
The advantages of using tape simply can’t be ignored. Compared to hard drives and flash-based storage, magnetic data tapes are rather low cost per gigabyte.
Tape is also known for its uncanny durability and the longest lifespan of any data storage medium on the market (up to more than 30 years). For these reasons, along with the low overhead in energy costs. It is no surprise that tape continues to be at the top of the list in storage demands.
However, the use for tapes in data storage has recently progressed. Some tape storage types have almost as fast of access times as disk-based storage, but most tape solutions need a longer duration to access data.
This issue of delayed access times has forced tapes to be preferred for long term archiving as opposed to a standard backup media. The tapes that most enterprises consume now are mainly utilized in archiving. There are instances where some tapes have even been stored for up to three decades. When a business has vital data archived that long period of time, they may not even remember what was on those tapes or if the data is still retrievable at that point.
Considering the fact that magnetic tape has been around for almost half a century, you can only imagine how many technological advances it has endured. To date, there are over 20 different magnetic tape formats that have been introduced, multiplied by the various manufacturers of tape drives and libraries, whose products are or were not always compatible with the media of other producers. Finally, factor in the number of different backup software and archive solutions presented, and there lies the intricate storage medium that is magnetic tape.
Why would anyone ever need their data recovered from a tape that’s been stored for so long? Well there are many reasons this occurs. Perhaps it needs to be recovered due to a company merger in order to provide an overview of all projects and documents available.
There have also been cases when data from a past event must be provided to investigators for litigation purposes and time when a company wanted to migrate all of their data into a new updated format like the cloud. Regardless of the reason, the data on the tapes must have a way that they can be read ad recovered.
The Process of Tape Recovery
We Buy Used Tape offers a vast array of services for tape storage, we not only restore data, but also data transfer, and secure data destruction. In the world of data storage, no tape project is ever the same. No matter what the desired end result is, the process always begins with an equipment evaluation. This evaluation is an extensive test on the magnetic tapes and the data readability to see if they are still functional.
Common issues that occur with tapes can come from aging, or if the storage temperature was not kept a consistent and optimal degree. Temperature and humidity fluctuations can lead to moisture and oxidation on the coated magnetic tape; resulting in the tape strips getting stuck together. Dirt and dust can also cause destruction of the magnetic coating.
The first step in the recovery process is safe and secure transportation of the data tapes to the warehouse. After the tapes have reached their destination, the evaluation begins to determine what condition they are in. As soon as an extensive cleaning is performed (and repair if needed) an attempt to read the tapes on the original hardware can be completed.
With several tape drives from all major manufacturers available, We Buy Used Tape has more opportunities than most other tape data specialist companies to read the tapes past the first error.
Similar to the data recovery process of a hard drive or SSD, the data can be read and copied from the magnetic tape and stored on servers. Once the data is copied to servers, the true recovery process can begin. The time associated with a data recovery can be either fast and simple or laborious and time consuming. Every project is different with tape.
For example, if a business were to have numerous tapes in the LTO 3 and LTO 4 format that required all the data extracted and transferred to a new generation of LTO8 tape, it could be done. The older tapes could then be easily degaussed and destroyed or refurbished depending on the condition.
In any case, We Buy Used Tape can cover any enterprise tape needs. There’s nothing we don’t cover: