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Television backup tapes get much needed update

by on May 18, 2012

Sometimes you may get cravings for a nice lamb gyro or some souvlaki. You probably don’t have a massive hankering for Greek television, though, even if its newest tape management solution will make it easier for them to maintain and access information if you should suddenly feel like watching.

Greek television station AlphaTV recently updated its backup tape solution to better accommodate its growing archive of programs. The new tapes offer more storage with a smaller physical footprint, making them easier and cheaper to store. The new high capacity, high performance tapes will improve accessibility of video files much easier and means more data can be stored in a smaller amount of space than previously necessary.

AlphaTV said in a statement about its move to new data storage that its previous solution was hefty but impractical, storing nearly 20 years of documentaries, comedies, dramas and miscellaneous content. The television station was previously using a library of Sony Beta SP video cassettes, far more difficult to manage and track as well as more susceptible to deterioration.

“Tape is faster and more reliable than it used to be,” said IBM’s Sanjay Tripathi in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald. Tripathi went on to say that transfer rates and storage capacities were superior to other backup solutions and significantly less expensive to acquire and maintain.

Storing data as old as AlphaTV means archiving years of video, but seeing as they probably won’t need a sitcom episode from 1999 in the near future, it isn’t a big concern for the company that it might take a bit longer to retrieve that data than if it were immediately accessible. Still, the point of setting data to archive is that it’s still essential for media management, but the company doesn’t need to have it as part of their day-to-day solutions.

Backup tape is still superior to disk in many ways for long-term storage, including compression and retrieval times as well as maintenance overhead, but it’s an archival tool and should be a part of a business continuity plan. Knowing when to move files from intranet systems or regular circulation will be up to an individual business to decide. In AlphaTV’s case, backup tape management will work out much better than keeping thousands of old tapes around.

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