Tape backup cartridges have been favoured for decades, and why? They are cost effective and great for long term storage of data. They are also durable and easy to file. This type of data storage is used by data being transferred onto a magnetic tape.
One of the favourable features of tape backup cartridge is that it allows for sequential data retrieval rather than random, as that of data hard drives do. The negative to this, however, is that seek time of this type of data storage is considerably longer than a hard drive. An upside to this technology is that it can stream data as quickly as a hard drive.
Tape backup cartridges are versatile, with their capacity for storage can range anywhere from a few megabytes, perfect for use as personal storage, to a tons of gigabytes, which is ideal for organising work data and information.
This technology can be used by any computer. They are connected simply through a variety of ways. USB, Fibre channels and FireWire are just a few possibilities of how you can use these kinds of tapes in your workplace or home and just how accessible they are to your computer.
There are some problems, however, with tape backup cartridges; one being that many of the older designs had a stop start effect. This is when the data that is being streamed on the tape cartridge falls below the minimum threshold at which the tapes were designed to transfer data. When this occurs, the tape has to in effect rewind to accelerate again. This obviously takes additional time.
This problem was solved, when, with a later design, in the 1980s a buffer was added. Simply this meant that if there was no data there the tape would stop and similarly, if the buffer was full the tape would stop. Other than in these two circumstances the later design prevented most of the stop start function that was so troublesome in the previous designs.
Now, most backup tapes operate a number of speeds. Now these tapes read what speed the computer they are attached to operate at and then factions accordingly. These speeds range from 50%, 75% and full speed. This allows fewer problems and makes accessing data easier. There can still be issues however. If a computer reads data slower than the lowest speed of tape backup cartridge there will still be a stop start effect.
When the stop start feature appears (this is also known as shoe shinning) it will affect the attainable data rate and this can also place an additional pressure on to the tape.