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Disk vs. Tape

Many CTOs and system/network administrators feel that tape is something to be avoided. But a new white paper by the Tolis Group ( — which makes back-up solutions for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and Unix systems — begs to different.

The Tolis Group says that no longer is tape a performance, usability, or cost gating factor. In fact, the white paper says that LTO-4 technology is actually faster than the filesystems that feed it, the reliability is excellent, and the life expectancy of written tapes is measured in decades. The same can be said for other fine tape formats, though throughput performance varies.

What’s LTO? It stands for Linear Tape-Open, a magnetic tape data storage technology . IT developed jointly by IBM, HP and Seagate as an open alternative to the proprietary Digital Linear Tape (DLT). Developed jointly by IBM, HP, and Seagate.

LTO-4 cartridges offer a native capacity of 800GB per reel — twice that of the previous generation. Its sustained transfer rate can vary according to the implementation, but its top performance is rated at 120 MBps (without compression). LTO-4 also offers WORM (write once read many) capabilities and encryption.

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