In data storage, a tape library (sometimes called a tape silo or tape jukebox) is a storage device which contains one or more tape drives, a number of slots to hold tape cartridges, a barcode reader to identify tape cartridges and an automated method / robot for loading tapes.
These devices can store immense amounts of data, currently ranging from 20 terabytes (TB) up to several petabytes (PB) of data, or about ten thousand times the capacity of a typical hard drive and well in excess of capacities achievable with network attached storage. Typical entry-level solutions cost around $10,000 USD, while high-end solutions can cost in excess of $70,000 USD. For large data-storage, they are a highly cost-effective solution, with cost per gigabyte as low as 10 cents USD, or at least 60% less than most hard drives, and they also add the value of providing systematic access to very large quantities of data. They pay for this with their slow access time, which usually involves mechanical manipulation of tapes, is on the order of seconds to minutes, and is not suitable for random access to the tape library as a whole.
Because of their slow random access and huge capacity, tape libraries are primarily used as the final stage of data archiving. A typical application would be a large organization saving extensive transaction record histories for legal or auditing purposes. Once the tape library is full, old data is progressively overwritten by new data.
Smaller tape libraries with only one drive and robot are known as autoloaders.
List of Tape library manufacturers:
- ADIC (acquired by Quantum in 2006)
- IBM: TS3310, TS3500, 3582, 3583, 3584, 3494
- Overland Storage
- Quantum Corp.
- Spectra Logic Corporation
- StorageTek (Acquired by Sun in 2005)
- Sun StorageTek: L25, L100, L180, L500, L700, Sun StorEdge L8500.
- Tandberg Data: StorageLibrary T40 (acquired Exabyte)
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