What exactly Is A Tape Drive

A tape drive is a motorized device that records data on a magnetic tape. Tape drives are preferably used in data backup. However, they are increasingly being used to create a temporary data copy, which then starts an initial data backup in the cloud. Also, in the film industry, the magnetic tape for example: the HPE LTO Ultrium 6250 Tape Drive is often used for the exchange of large-volume video data.

In the good old science-fiction movies, tape drives are still the first form of digital surveillance. On 720 meters of magnetic tape, the system was able to record 1.44 MB of data. Compared to the punch card memories used at the same time in IT, however, the amount of memory was enormous, since 18,000 punched cards could be stored on the reel.

Diversity Of Data-Critical Tape Technology

There were many tape recorder designs in the following years; even cassette recorders were used in private IT for data backup. For a long time, there was a bitter dispute over the mechanical recording process: helical or linear recording; these were the two major bearings. High technology was two engines that could accelerate or decelerate the band wraps in any direction.

For a long time, it was also unclear whether cassettes (two reels) or the cartridge (1 reel), where a pickup sits at the end of the tape, are threaded out of the tape drive onto an internal reel, which offered better rewinding technology. Ultimately, the cartridge has prevailed, since it is housed in a sturdy housing and with only one winding, which has larger and more secure data storage volume.

A second movement was miniaturization. Formats such as 4mm, QIC (quarter-inch = 6.35mm), 8mm, half an inch (12.7mm) showed the range of products. The wider the tape, the higher the quality of the data copy.

A second phenomenon was that the read/write heads in low-cost devices fell over time — the result: a data backup that could only be read with the appropriate recording device. The disaster of a drive failure was foreseeable and always lurked in the background.

Professional tape drives like HPE LTO Ultrium 15000 Tape Drive are often combined in the enterprise area with loading systems, which enable an automatic change of the tape media. So there were and are room-filling tape robots that house several thousand tape media, which the robot retrieves from the archive when needed.

Smaller loading systems with about 20 media are called tape libraries. A simple mechanism here transports the tapes to the drive and then pushes them into the drive bay. Pressing the eject button initiates the backward movement.