Is Tape Dead?

Overland Storage says "no".

Byteandswitch has a story on the issue. For years, people have said "tape is dead," as the price of disk storage declined and more enterprises embraced disk-based backup and archiving systems. Yet, tape still provides high capacity at a low price, is portable, and uses less power and generates less heat than disk systems. Those are some of the reasons the mid-range tape automation market will generate more than $1 billion in sales this year, and shipped more than 100,000 units last year, according to IDC .

Lots of enterprises still use tape, but its role has changed, acknowledged Peri Grover, the company's director of marketing. Most now back up to disk and then archive data off to tape for long-term storage, which is why Overland added disk and virtual tape libraries to its product portfolio over the past several years. "Now, it is all about finding the right combination of disk and tape to handle a company's needs," she said in an interview.


Tape is Not Dead.....Yet, but libraries are working very hard to kill it.

I maintain the library's audio visual department, and although my customers still want tapes, the system has decided that tape is passe and will no longer be replacing damaged copies or adding new ones.

There are still many companies that publish books on tape, even the bestsellers!

From a circulation point of view, tape is a better deal; they are less expensive, have a wider range of title choices, and have a much longer circulation life (I'd say 4-5 times as long as a cd).

Sadly, even though we say that we are here to provide our customers with what they want, we seem to be forcing the older generation out of the library with all the new fangled technology we are throwing at them.

As children's librarians can attest to, audiotape books for children and YAs are a lot sturdier than CDs!

I've read about cable companies that offer DVR services putting a time limit on movies-on-demand, i.e. you can get a pay-per-view movie but have only 48 hours (or so) in which to watch it before it's auto-erased. One blogger with kids that I was reading complained this is kind of a burden because it's hard to find two solid hours to devote to watching an entire movie anymore, so he tends to watch it in segments, a little bit at a time. More than once lately he ran out of time and couldn't finish an on-demand movie he paid for.

One of his commentors gave his own solution to the problem: "I use a VCR. Low tech, under the radar. VHS still works, dude."

Our media archive still has (very limited) stuff on Betamax, with one working Betamax player. Don't know what we'll do if it breaks, though.