Tape and/or disk

There is no universal answer to the question of whether tape or HDD is the preferred choice for data storage. It depends on which aspects are compared. There is no difference between tape and disk in terms of quality and reliability, but disk is the fastest option if you are looking for direct availability.

Additionally, it is very important to constantly be aware of when you are making the comparison since both HDD (including Cloud) technology and tape technology are constantly subject to change. The exponential growth in data on a global scale, combined with a rapid increase in cybercrime, intensifying public debate about drastically reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions mean that the LTO Tape Consortium conducts continual analyses to align all the pros and cons of tape, HDD and cloud environments with developments in the world of data storage.

Data transfer

There is a common misconception that the speed of transferring a HDD is higher than that of a tape. The latest state of technology disproves this. Currently (2020/2021), LTO8 tapes achieve the highest transfer speed. Native data is written to tape at a speed of up to 360 MB a second, whereas compressed data is written to tape at a speed of around 750 MB a second. In practice, the transfer speed of up to around 30 Gig to an HDD system is faster than to an LTO tape system. Once the quantities of data increase, tape has the advantage, as well as having very high reliability.

Offline, offsite data vault - BackupNed (4)

Difference in costs between Tape and Disk

If we look at the cost of storage, tape has a clear advantage. The total costs of tape are lower than those of disk. Analyses conducted by the LTO Consortium now show that the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of tapes is 86% lower over a period of 10 years compared with the cost of HDD storage and 66% lower than that for a cloud solution.

They also show that the unit price of tapes per volume is substantially lower than all the other storage systems. This is further reinforced by the fact that tape storage only uses electricity when data is actually written to tape or read, in contrast to HDD which runs all the time and therefore constantly requires electricity and cooling.

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