This essay published by MiniTool official will tell you why there are still many users who choose to back up to magnetic tape storages. Just as what you can think about, there are many advantages for backing up to tapes rather than to other common storage devices.

About Tape Backup

When you reading “tape backup”, you may think about back up the data in a tape or back up data somewhere else to tape. No matter which thought you have, you are not wrong. However, in this post here, we will mainly talk about backing up data and save it to tapes.

Why Need to Back up to Tape?

I believe the reasons for backing up digital data are well known to most of you. So, I won’t repeat them here. Yet, as for saving backup data into the old magnetic tapes, some of you may not understand the necessity. If so, it is recommended to continue your reading.

Tapes have been used for data storage early since the 1950s. Though seems old and out of fashion now, comparing with other storage devices for backups, including hard disk drives (both internal and external), NAS (Network-attached Storage), cloud drives (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.), USB flash drive, SD cards, floppy disks, CDs/DVDs, and so on, tapes still have many advantages over the other storage devices.

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Due to the advantages over other storage media, magnetic tapes are still popular devices for backup and recovery among large and small businesses, organizations, server centers, and even for home users for offline storage.

Dell Tape Library

The advantages of Tape Backup

Magnetic tape is a type of sequential storage, which means that you can only access target data in a predetermined sequence. That is to say, you have to move the tape’s ribbon backward or forward to get the location where the target data is stored.

Unlike tapes, the hard drives provide direct access storage, which allows you to access target data in seconds with the data’s unique address. It seems that hard disks are better than magnetic tapes. Yet, tapes have many advantages that make them still popular among users, especially for tape backup.

High Capacity

Large capacity is the most advanced feature of tapes. Magnetic tapes can provide large storage capacities, and the capacities of modern tapes are growing in order to meet the increasing needs. Though the capacity is increasing, the physical shape of modern tapes remains small. Common tape drives are included in cartridges. Therefore, you do not need to spare additional space for storing a large number of tape cartridges.

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Low Cost

Low price is the second advantage of magnetic tape drives. Compared to other storage media like hard disk and cloud storage, tape backup costs you less for the cheap price of tapes. When it comes to every GB, tape drive costs much less than hard drives.

Besides, as a kind of offline storage, you need less money to support and maintain tapes than those online storage devices, much more expensive for cloud storage.

Long Lifespan

The longevity of tape is another reason why so many people still stick to tape drives backup. If been maintained properly, you can expect to store your data for decades. That is, tape drives support long-term data retention and high archival stability.

Tape Driver


As a kind of offline storage drive, tapes are separate from any host devices. Only when doing the tape backup process, can they be connected to another machine. Once the backup is done, you can disconnect them from the machine and take them anywhere. In order to avoid potential threats, you are recommended to store those tapes in a safe storehouse, that is rarely be opened.


Another advantage of tape backup storage is its security. Still, as an offline device disconnected from system and network, tapes prevent its data from viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, trojans, hackers, hijacks, attacks…

Tapes are mostly used together with hard drives or cloud drives, so users can enjoy the advantages of both kinds of storage devices. As offline backup storage, a tape drive is an ideal choice for storing rarely-used data.

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