More and more data has to be stored - according to studies, the storage requirement increases by 30-40% every year. The problem: the storage space of modern hard disks grows only at about half the speed - data center - where most of the storage space is needed - so more and more hard disks would have to be purchased.
But much of this data doesn&t have to be available immediately - so there&s a perfect solution: data tapes. Although data tapes have completely disappeared from the consumer area, they are still widespread in the professional environment. And indeed, the majority of current data is stored on magnetic tapes, such as Hollywood films, basic research data, archive, bank and insurance data - and even the large providers of cloud storage systems use tapes. A modern data tape has a volume similar to a 3.5" hard disk, but has a capacity of up to 15 TB.
15 TB Tape
The disadvantage of extremely slow access (a tape must first be inserted from an automatic tape archive, then rewound to the correct position - access takes 50-60 seconds compared to 5-10 milliseconds for hard disks) is offset by numerous advantages of data tapes: Energy efficiency, data reliability (with error rates that are 4-5 times smaller than those of hard disks) and security - especially the offline nature of the tapes has already prevented many a total loss of data - be it through hack attacks or programming errors. However, the speed argument is only half true: the write speed of data tapes is about twice as high as that of hard disks.
The main argument, however, is of course the price: data tape storage space costs only one sixth of that of hard disks. And advances in storage technology will probably also ensure that this ration remains similarly large in the future - data tapes are and will remain the number one mass storage medium.
Interestingly, due to technological improvements in data density, the storage capacity of data tapes increases by an incredible 33% every year and will continue to increase at this rate in the near future - significantly faster than the hard disk capacity. The linked article explains why similar (magnetic) storage methods develop so differently.