An entire generation has grown up without rewinding a home movie or recording the summer's Top 40 hits on cassettes. VHS tapes and cassettes are no longer cutting-edge tech, and instead have become period props in movies to conjure up a world of retro cool. From the advent of the computing industry in the 1950s through the 1980s, tape dominated memory technology. Then hard drives and solid-state drives became the memory medium of choice because of their much faster retrieval speed and shrinking size.
However, the old magnetic tape that formed the core of those once-pervasive technologies is making a comeback as many CIOs and IT managers look to diversify their storage needs in the disk-driven world. Some wonder if tape can do the trick fast enough for our real-time, artificial intelligence-driven world and others even believe using tape is more energy efficient. Tape isn’t something associated with IT modernization trends such as hyper-converged infrastructure or cloud native.
“There was a time when every small business had a tape backup or a server sitting in the closet with shelves of tape,” said Mike Kahn, a 40-plus year computer industry veteran with experience as an analyst and engineer. “That cost money and space to store, so people got away from it at an everyday level, but…look at who has become interested in tape.”