The No. 1 reason a tape dies is because somebody drops it, doesn't report it and puts it into the machine anyway. A tape is sensitive to being dropped; it's called shocking the tape. I recently had a conversation with a guy by the name of Wayne Tolliver who just came up with a patent on a tape media storage technology that lets you know if a tape has been shocked.
Tolliver patented an indicator that has a little fluid in it. When it has been dropped, it turns three transparent bubbles black to indicate that you shouldn't use this tape. Simple innovation. I wish I'd thought of it myself. But the bottom line is, he's going to go native with that and we will be able to correct the leading cause of tape failure. (Which, by the way, has been declining already. The reliability of tape has steadily improved over the years.)
So, we're making tape almost invulnerable to risk at this point. And that's so cool.
I think tape has a long runway in front of it. The tape storage media roadmaps from major vendors indicate that the technology is going forward for at least the next decade. Tape has good reliability, good investment protection, can always read two generations back, and can write and read at least one generation prior. And LTO is universal; even though a lot of vendors make tapes and drives, it works in all of them.
This is where all storage needs to be, but tape is there already and maybe because nobody was looking for a long time.
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