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Not dead: Magnetic tape
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l***@yahoo.com
2018-09-01 16:27:26 UTC
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"Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape: Disk drives are reaching their limits, but magnetic tape just gets better and better"

https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/why-the-future-of-data-storage-is-still-magnetic-tape

First paragraphs:

By Mark Lantz

It should come as no surprise that recent advances in big-data analytics and artificial intelligence have created strong incentives for enterprises to amass information about every measurable aspect of their businesses. And financial regulations now require organizations to keep records for much longer periods than they had to in the past. So companies and institutions of all stripes are holding onto more and more.

Studies show [PDF] that the amount of data being recorded is increasing at 30 to 40 percent per year. At the same time, the capacity of modern hard drives, which are used to store most of this, is increasing at less than half that rate. Fortunately, much of this information doesn’t need to be accessed instantly. And for such things, magnetic tape is the perfect solution.

Seriously? Tape? The very idea may evoke images of reels rotating fitfully next to a bulky mainframe in an old movie like Desk Set or Dr. Strangelove. So, a quick reality check: Tape has never gone away!

Indeed, much of the world’s data is still kept on tape, including data for basic science, such as particle physics and radio astronomy, human heritage and national archives, major motion pictures, banking, insurance, oil exploration, and more. There is even a cadre of people (including me, trained in materials science, engineering, or physics) whose job it is to keep improving tape storage.

Tape has been around for a long while, yes, but the technology hasn’t been frozen in time. Quite the contrary. Like the hard disk and the transistor, magnetic tape has advanced enormously over the decades...

(snip)



I have to say, when I saw the title, the first thing that came to mind was this classic horror short from 1975, constantly shown on HBO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Qeee8D2Ro

The article gives the video a new meaning!

Btw, I know for a fact that the video is scary enough to put off a 12-year-old.


Lenona.
Terry del Fuego
2018-09-02 01:55:07 UTC
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On Sat, 1 Sep 2018 09:27:26 -0700 (PDT), ***@yahoo.com wrote:

>https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/why-the-future-of-data-storage-is-still-magnetic-tape

"Tape is also exceedingly reliable, with error rates that are four to
five orders of magnitude lower than those of hard drives."

And yet in all the years I was a mainframe guy I don't remember ever
having to deal with corrupted files on disk (oh, pardon me, I mean
DASD) but can remember multiple situations where a not particularly
old tape had become unreadable.

Though the rest of the article is, at least based on my experience,
pretty much spot on.
David Carson
2018-09-02 03:56:20 UTC
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On Sat, 01 Sep 2018 18:55:07 -0700, Terry del Fuego
<***@hotmail.com> wrote:

>On Sat, 1 Sep 2018 09:27:26 -0700 (PDT), ***@yahoo.com wrote:
>
>>https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/why-the-future-of-data-storage-is-still-magnetic-tape
>
>"Tape is also exceedingly reliable, with error rates that are four to
>five orders of magnitude lower than those of hard drives."
>
>And yet in all the years I was a mainframe guy I don't remember ever
>having to deal with corrupted files on disk (oh, pardon me, I mean
>DASD) but can remember multiple situations where a not particularly
>old tape had become unreadable.
>
>Though the rest of the article is, at least based on my experience,
>pretty much spot on.

With the original TRS-80, the only way to save programs you'd written was
on cassette tape. You'd save the program once, then save it again, then
swap tapes and save it twice again, in the hopes that the next time you
wanted to use that program, one of the copies would load. The poor
reliability could have been more because of the entry-level quality of the
tape and recorder being used, rather than the soundness of the fundamental
concept, but still ... those were the days.
danny burstein
2018-09-02 04:03:52 UTC
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In <pmfn1i$8va$***@gioia.aioe.org> David Carson <***@neosoft.com> writes:

>With the original TRS-80, the only way to save programs you'd written was
>on cassette tape. You'd save the program once, then save it again, then
>swap tapes and save it twice again, in the hopes that the next time you
>wanted to use that program, one of the copies would load. The poor
>reliability could have been more because of the entry-level quality of the
>tape and recorder being used, rather than the soundness of the fundamental
>concept, but still ... those were the days.

You also needed to make sure your cassette recorder
did NOT have "automatic gain control"...

"cload" and "csave"....


--
_____________________________________________________
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
***@panix.com
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
Michael OConnor
2018-09-02 06:42:34 UTC
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>
> You also needed to make sure your cassette recorder
> did NOT have "automatic gain control"...
>
> "cload" and "csave"....

I remember the TRASH-80 back in the mid-80's, always making backup cassette files of the programs, and I always wrote the programs down by hand just to make sure both cassettes didn't fail.
W.C. Green
2018-09-02 14:02:39 UTC
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On 9/2/2018 12:42 AM, Michael OConnor wrote:
>
>>
>> You also needed to make sure your cassette recorder
>> did NOT have "automatic gain control"...
>>
>> "cload" and "csave"....
>
> I remember the TRASH-80 back in the mid-80's, always making backup cassette files of the programs, and I always wrote the programs down by hand just to make sure both cassettes didn't fail.
>

What I remember about magnetic tape is write rings. I never could find
one when I needed it. I kept one hanging from my VW's rear-view mirror
so I'd be certain to have one at customer sites.
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