FWIW I too use to use tape too but it's been a decade of no looking back. You're the last person I hear of still using tapes - wrt capacity & performance they seem low bang for the buck today compared to HD's - one or two 3TB drives have to be smaller than a box of tapes for a safety deposit box.....I know, I know, you already paid for the tapes. Sorry. The problem with one or two external backup drives is that when one fails, I would lose an entire month's worth of backups, the most recent month. That would be intolerable. That is why I would need a whole bunch of those (say 11, to be comparable to my tape system), and they would only need to be about 30 GBytes each (if they made those proportionally smaller physically and in terms of capital investment. And that will never happen. As it is, I can get 120 GByte tapes for these backups, but I have only 40 GByte tapes because that is all I need.It is not the size of a month's backups that is the limiting factor, it is the physical diversity that I am after, so a physical failure has much less impact.Yes, I already have the tape. I do not know what I would do if I were building a system today. In 2000 those tape drives were about $1000 each for a VXA-1. The VXA-2 drives, that are backwards compatible with the VXA-1 hold about twice as much data on the same tapes, and seem to cost about $250 each. Perhaps I should get one as a spare, since as someone pointed out, they may be more difficult to get in the future. Tapes are still very easy to get.
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