Robotic tape library [Mechanical engineering]

Robotic tape library

Buying the best backup tape library: Tape libraries vs. tape autoloaders

What you will learn in this tip: the differences between autoloaders and tape libraries. Learn about some of the pertinent pricing and compatibility issues when transitioning from an autoloader to a tape library.

With voice and video data becoming more common in the enterprise, some data storage and backup administrators are finding that the volume of data that is being backed up on a nightly basis is growing exponentially. If you find yourself in this situation, then you may eventually discover that the tape autoloader that you're currently using for data backups is no longer sufficient. One possible solution to this dilemma is to invest in a backup tape library.

Backup tape libraries vs. tape autoloaders

Being that both tape libraries and autoloaders can be used to automate backups requiring multiple tapes, it is easy to confuse the two technologies. Autoloaders are typically used in smaller businesses. They consist of a tape drive, a tape magazine and a robotic mechanism that can move tapes between the tape drive and the magazine on an as needed basis.

The biggest difference between an autoloader and a tape library is that tape libraries include two or more tape drives. What are the benefits of having a tape library, as opposed to simply purchasing multiple autoloaders?

The thing that really sets tape libraries apart from autoloaders is that the robotic loading mechanism is able to access all of the tape drives within the library. This allows backup jobs to be run in parallel (which is also possible with multiple autoloaders), but it also helps to improve the reliability of the backup operation. If for example, a tape drive were to fail then the tape library could conceivably continue any backup or restoration operations by using an alternate drive within the tape library.

In addition to normal backup and restore operations, tape libraries are also commonly used for hierarchical storage management (HSM). The basic idea behind hierarchical storage management is that on just about any network, there are files that are almost never accessed. These files consume space on network volumes, and have traditionally been included in regular backups even though the contents of the files rarely if ever change.

EXABYTE EXABYTE EXB-210 Robotic Tape Library
PC Accessory (EXABYTE)
  • Exabyte EXB-210
  • Please ensure that your original part number matches this exactly, or check with the manufactuer for compatiblity. Customers are responsible for compatiblity.
  • This part is guaranteed to be fully functional, original and authentic.
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What is the function of a tape library on a computer?

A tape library stores information about tape drives, magnetic strips of tape that read and write data such as those used in video cassettes and floppy discs. Tape libraries hold tape cartridges and read tap barcodes for identification.

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