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Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 

A magnetically coated strip of plastic on which data can be encoded. Tapes for computers are similar to tapes used to store music.

Storing data on tapes is considerably cheaper than storing data on disks. Tapes also have large storage capacities, ranging from a few hundred kilobytes to several gigabytes. Accessing data on tapes, however, is much slower than accessing data on disks. Tapes are sequential-access media, which means that to get to a particular point on the tape, the tape must go through all the preceding points. In contrast, disks are random-access media because a disk drive can access any point at random without passing through intervening points.

Because tapes are so slow, they are generally used only for long-term storage and backup. Data to be used regularly is almost always kept on a disk. Tapes are also used for transporting large amounts of data.

Tapes come in a variety of sizes and formats.

Tapes are sometimes called streamers or streaming tapes.

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For pages about tape . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling Guide
Describes how to properly store and care for magnetic media to maximize their life expectancies. Includes technical explanations for the rationale behind recommended procedures. This report is a joint project of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the National Media Laboratory.

Metal Particle Tape Guide
Explains the technology behind metal partical tape used for data storage applications.

Seagate Software Technology Papers
Good collection of technical papers about recent developments in the storage and data technology industries.

Tape Talk from Westek
Contains tips and the latest developments in tape backup, as well as links to Westek product information and related links.

Sponsored listings

Lockstep Systems: Backup & Recovery - Provider of easy-to-use backup and restore software for individual and networked Windows servers and PCs that stores backup data on disk-media.

Digi-Key: Panduit Tape - Broad-line distributor web site features real-time stock status and pricing, online ordering, RFQ, technical support, product datasheets and photos.

RSF Elektronik: Tape Scale - Manufacturer and distributor of tape scales for precision motion control and measurement applications. Bismalemide Tape - Provides database of suppliers for Bismalemide Tape. Browse catalogs and view technical information.

AccuPlace: Tape - Manufacturer of equipment for accurate adhesive component placement, including filters, gaskets, labels, pressure sensitive adhesives, and more.

related categories

Tape Drives

related terms

3480, 3490






disk drive


helical-scan cartridge

mass storage


sequential access


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