With the recent release of the linear tape–open 9 (LTO-9) standard, tape drives with increased capacity and speed should be available soon, but that doesn’t mean users of tape drives should rush to buy them.
Here are some of the pros and cons to weigh when considering whether an upgrade is in order.
Tape drives are a very reliable way to write data to storage, and are very good at holding onto data for multiple decades. They make an excellent medium for long-term storage and for shipping large amounts of data across long distances (a FedEx truck has unlimited bandwidth).
What tape is not good at is going slow. LTO-8 has a compressed transfer speed of 900MB/s, which is significantly faster than most any backup you're going to send to it. It's definitely faster than any incremental backup that will be sent to it, and that comprises most backups. That makes tapes as the initial target of backups problematic.
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