Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Magnetic tapeA tape is a magnetically thin coated piece of plastic wrapped around wheels capable of storing data. Tape is much less expensive than other storage mediums, but it is a much slower solution because it is sequential access and is typically only used for backing up large amounts of data.

Today, tape has mostly been abandoned for faster and more reliable solutions like disc drives, hard drives, and flash drives that are all direct access and cloud storage. The image to the right is a picture and example of magnetic tape taken by KENPEI and shared under the creative commons.

How much can a tape drive store?

The storage capacity of a tape drive all depends on the type of tape drive and technology being used. For example, the first tape drive introduced by Remington Rand in 1951 was only capable of storing 224 KB of data. Later tape drives released in the early 2000's were capable of storing several TB of data. For example, the IBM TS1155 generation 6 tape drive released in 2017 is capable of storing 15 TB of uncompressed data.

Hardware terms, Sequential access, Storage device, Tape drive terms, VHS