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Data Storage Options – Is Data Tape the Future or a Stretch of the Imagination

How Tape is evolving in the face of massive increases in data creation.

Digital data is growing exponentially each year making it difficult to choose data storage options. In fact, by some estimates, it will reach 180 zettabytes worldwide by 2025. Current data storage options simply do not have the capacity to store so much data. Thus the term ‘Zettabyte Apocalypse‘ was coined.

Data tape has been on the receiving end of criticism and bad press for some years now, no doubt fueled by proponents of disk drives who are looking to promote their products. While disk drives certainly have an advantage in terms of data access when compared to tape data storage they have several disadvantages that may make them redundant in the face of growing data storage demands.


Why Disk Storage is likely to be the first casualty of the ‘Zettabyte Apocalypse‘

There are two main reasons disk storage may become an endangered species when it comes to long-term data storage and archiving of large amounts of data.

  1. Disk storage capacity is simply not growing rapidly enough when compared to the amount of data being created each year.
  2. Disk storage is more expensive than tape storage as the storage capacity increases. This means it just is not cost effective enough to use for the long-term storage of large data archives.


Data Storage Options – Data Tape takes the lead

While currently, data tape is also having to make a stretch, so to speak, in order to keep up with current storage capacity demands, it nonetheless may be the best solution to our future storage capacity needs.

This newfound status is due to innovations currently being developed that will allow tape to make great leaps in capacity. In addition to greater capacity in the future, data tape already holds the title for being the most cost-effective long-term storage option. By some estimates, the cost of ownership of tape data storage is six times lower than hard disk drives.

That is a significant difference and as data storage options go it makes data tape very attractive.


Handling Data Tape Storage’s Weakness

The Achilles Heal of data tape storage has always been accessing information. This has allowed hard disk storage to become popular with many IT professionals. The oft-heard phrase of, “I don’t want tape in my workspace” is actually, “I don’t want to have to manage tape”.

Yet tape accessibility can be improved in a number of ways.

Linear Tape File System (LTFS)

One option that is making tape more accessible is LTFS Software. LTFS allows direct, immediate and graphical access to data stored on LTO tapes. This makes management much easier and eliminates the need for special software in order to access the data.

In fact, there are many other options, permutations and hybridisations that make tape very attractive as a data storage option for the future of long-term data archiving.


For more information read: “Tape is Built for the Future” by Daniel Jan



There can be no doubt we are entering a challenging time regarding the storage and handling of digital data. Many new innovations are likely to be put forth. Hard disk technology may make a dramatic breakthrough or tape may continue to surge forward unhindered, a new technology may even materialise out of thin air to disrupt the market and halt the ‘Zettabyte Apocalypse‘.

Until then you can trust us, as your valued data storage partner, to not only bring you the latest news and updates but also the most cutting-edge solutions. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you move ahead into the future.



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