Earlier I spoke about Tape Libraries and its usage, today I’ll speak a bit about Tape drives and where they are use.

Tape drive is a data storage device which is used to read and write data that is stored on a magnetic tape. Tape drives are also known as ‘streamers’. Typically, Tape Drives are used for archival storage of data stored on hard drives.

The data capacities on these tape drives ranges from a few megabytes to several gigabytes. Their transfer speeds also vary considerably. Today you can find Fast tape drives in the market which can transfer as much as 20MB per second.

Tape drives come with sequential-access of data, which makes it slower to read/write data. ie..A tape drive spends significant amount of time winding tape between reels to read any piece of data on the drive. The advantage of hard disk drives over tape drives are that they allow random-access to data. ie..the read/write head moves to any random part of disk platters in a jiff. Thus rendering tape drives slow in the average seek time. however, regardless of slow seek time, they can stream data to tape very quickly.

The interfaces used to connect tape drives to a computer are SCSI, IDE, SATA, USB, FireWire to name a few. Tape drives assist autoloaders and tape libraries in loading, unloading and storing multiple tapes to increase their archiving capacity. So i guess its safe to say that tape drives have certain uses and are not outdated in some respects.

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