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4 Irrefutable Facts that Prove Tape Is More Reliable Than Disk

by on June 7, 2011

Tape’s reliability as a long-term storage medium already has plenty of proof to back it up. Now, we can add to that growing body of evidence some scientific facts.

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In a blog post last week, W. Curtis Preston (a.k.a. Mr. Backup) shared the science behind what makes tape “inherently a more stable magnetic medium than disk when used to store data for long periods.” Rather than blind you with the details of the science (available in Mr. Preston’s post), here are the key attributes of tape that make it best suited for the long haul:

  1. Tape uses larger magnetic particles than disk, creating more stable magnetism, so it holds data more reliably over the long term.
  2. Tapes are typically stored outside of the drive, so they stay cooler than disk and are therefore less susceptible to degradation.
  3. Tape drives have a lower bit error rate than disk and a slower rate of “bit rot,” so they’re less prone to data errors and corruption.
  4. Tape drives do a read after every write to validate that the data is intact, providing a built-in data integrity check.

There you have it: tape has more stable magnetism, less degradation, fewer errors and less corruption over time. Without even having to brush up on your high school physics, you can see that tape has a lot going for it as a long-term storage medium. Tape’s reliability over the long term isn’t just opinion—it’s indisputable scientific fact.

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