Magnetic tape is a serial access type storage device made up of Mylar plastic material coated with magnetic material (iron oxide) only one side of the tape. Magnetic tapes are used for backup in servers, workstations, and large computers. A high speed magnet is tape is used for hard disk backup which takes few minute to dump or load the entire contents of the hard disks to or from a magnetic tape. A magnetic tape is low cost device and has large storage capacity. It can be used as an offline secondary storage and can store large volume of information to be processed sequentially and also transports data from one place to another or from one computer to another. Its main drawback is it stores information sequentially due to which files or particular information stored cannot be accessed directly on random basis.
Magnetic tapes are available in 1/2 inch, 1/4 inch, 8 mm, and 3 mm. The 1/2 inch magnetic tapes are costly and are not commonly used and are in reel form. Modern magnetic tapes are cassettes form and are called cartridge tapes. Their width is 8 mm or 3 mm and their storing capacity are 250MB, 500MB, 2GB, 10GB, etc. The digital audio tape (DAT) is the latest addition to the magnetic tapes family uses SCSI and the storing capacity is up to 4GB.
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