Is tape dead?

Sean Caron scaron at
Mon Sep 14 17:56:15 CDT 2015

We just procured a new Overland LTO-6 library this year at work so I can
tell you from direct experience that tape is not dead! Although
direct-to-disk and to-tape backup cost has more or less converged from a
price standpoint, there are still some nice aspects of tape ... you get
practically infinite storage in a finite number of rack units ... you don't
need to keep whole racks of disks on the data center floor, powered up;
they're more conducive to off-site archival and so on.

I've tried to use tape at home mostly as a backup media at least a few
times ... with DAT, with QIC ... with 8 mm ... and of course I've played
with the older DEC cartridge tapes i.e. TK50/TK70 ... never had much luck
with them ... I think the transports are pretty "used up" by the time they
get to me ... I still do have a few TK50 drives, a DAT and a QIC ... I
don't have much media left ... a few TK50 cartridges and a box of QIC tapes
where the rollers have turned to goop ...

It would be a hoot to get a 9-track in here someday to play with but I
wouldn't want to spend a whole lot of dough on it ...

So, I think tape has bright prospects both in production IT as well as in
the hobbyist environment yet :O



On Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 6:38 PM, Johnny Billquist <bqt at> wrote:

> On 2015-09-14 20:43, Murray McCullough wrote:
>> I came across a fascinating article by Evan Koblentz in TechRepublic
>> Daily Digest today entitled: “Tape isn't dying -- it's getting
>> healthier and smarter”. Does this mean my ADAM tape drive system has a
>> future after all? Naw! But one can wish. Are there tape systems in the
>> PDP family, et. al., still running?
>> Happy computing.
>> Murray  :)
> Can't answer in general, but my PDP-11/93 have a DDS-3, an Exabyte and a
> TK50 running.
> Update have a couple of PDP-11/70 systems, and have tape drives on them,
> although our TU81 currently seems dead.
>         Johnny
> --
> Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
>                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
> email: bqt at             ||  Reading murder books
> pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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