The Last Resort: Streamer Technolgy Overview

The Future: Minimize Sources Of Error

Regardless of which technology users decide on - in the end, users themselves pose the gravest source of danger for even the most sophisticated IT system. For that reason, current developments not only aim at increasing the storage capacity and data throughput, but also at creating assisting security features designed to help avoid future mistakes.

This means that the inserted streamer tape can also be detected and identified in low-end drives. The purpose is to ensure that tapes are not used more often than what the manufacturer specifies.

Another step is the increased automation of backup processes in order to avoid user mistakes and negligence: Autoloaders can simultaneously handle several tapes, rotating them according to a set pattern.

Larger systems such as robot-supported data backup systems access a huge number of tapes. This means the user only has to perform certain maintenance work (cleaning of drives or exchanging security tapes) in large intervals.


The vast amount of different standards, capacities and transfer rates can really scare off neophytes from the tape sector, especially considering that they often need to select an interface or have to decide between an installed device or an external drive - in addition to determining and sifting through the prices for drives and tapes.

Additionally, users must choose between a myriad of different competing standards, while manufacturers further cloud the picture by advocating their standard as the most viable in their marketing claims. That, in turn, makes comparisons very unwieldy.

And so the bottom line for backup-conscious users is this: You have to thoroughly work your way through all standards, identifying your preferences and the device that is right for you by actually working with and testing different options. In addition, there's also the issue of buying the right backup software.

In the low-end segment, the trend in the streamer market is now increasingly moving towards autoloaders (e.g., ValueLoader by Quantum for DLT and LTO and 8 mm tapes). These are devices that combine a streamer drive and a substitute unit for several tapes. Installed in a 19" cabinet, users get a reliable and clean solution, currently available for only a few thousand dollars. This is not too expensive, considering the price enterprises will pay if all of their system data is lost or destroyed.