Magnetic tape is extremely slow, but also also extremely cheap.

Is there any way to use tape to backup a computer?

What is exactly this?

enter image description here

A cartridge? A drive?

Are there any inexpensive way to connect those tapes to a normal desktop?


It says cartridge on the photo so that is the answer. It is an LTO4 cartridge that holds 800GB uncompressed.You need an LTO drive of some sort and likely a SCSI or SAS card to connect the drive. That will drive up the price a bit. I have used such drives in a workstation but not cheap to do.

Using a USB3 or eSATA drive would be fast and much less expensive.

Tape has many uses still but I would suggest not practical for most desktop systems. More info about what you are doing would perhaps get a more detailed answer.

  • Yup, a quick search for LTO drives gave the results i expected. Why is the tape reader so expensive when the tape is so cheap? Probably isn't due to the "advanced" technology involved. – SOMN Oct 22 '12 at 19:02
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    Actually, due to the amount of data being squeezed onto the tape, it is due to the advanced technology involved. You aren't in QIC-40 land anymore. – Fiasco Labs Oct 22 '12 at 19:06
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    LTO tape systems are really for large scale server backups. The latest generation (LTO5) can dump data to tape faster than many desktop hard disks. They're not designed or priced with home users in mind. – billc.cn Oct 22 '12 at 19:09
  • Windows 7 got rid of backing up to a tape. In order to support a drive like this would require third-party support. – Ramhound Oct 22 '12 at 19:26
  • @SOMN because that's the tradeoff you want when you're buying tens of thousands of tapes and only a few drives. Tape makes little sense if your backup needs can be satisfied with a few external hard drives that you rotate through the backup stages (one set you keep at hand, the other in a remote location...). The economics of tape make sense when you want to store backup sets going back months or years - ie archival storage. They're also more reliable over time, just sitting on the shelf, than hard drives are. – Jamie Hanrahan Jul 30 '17 at 17:35

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