Tape Data Recovery – Reading Old Archives

Tapes are still used for backups and archives. You will rarely find them in home computer systems, but in professional IT environments tape devices are mandatory. Tapes still have excellent storage capacity for low price. LTO, DLT, Super DLT, DLT VS80 and VS160, SONY AIT, Travan, Exabyte, 4 mm DAT, DDS, Mammoth, SLR and many other tape formats are used to store data worldwide. Unfortunately, they can fail as other magnetic media.

Tape failure can be either physical or logical. If the tape is snapped, twisted, stretched or otherwise damaged it is physically impossible to read the data. Fire, smoke, heat, water, even dust can also easily damage delicate magnetic surface--iron oxide that stores data. But even if the physical media is in good condition there might still be problems with the data. If there were problems during writing and for some reason the data was not recorded properly, the heads were misaligned or the tapes were overwritten or mistakenly initialized, you will have trouble reading them back. This is where tape data recovery services can help.

Tape archives and backups store data that is rarely read back. But when the data is needed it is needed badly and now. If the tapes were not stored properly you will have trouble. Fortunately, there are data recovery companies that can help us to recover old tapes. They can do magic. Usually they can deal with all popular tape formats and snapped tape is not a problem.

They will first make a copy of the problematic tape. Only this copy will be used for actual data recovery. Since the tape devices and the tape itself has larger dimensions it is much easier to develop special tools to read data from damaged tapes. And to process this tape data experts use dedicated recovery software to restore files that were written to the tape. Many times the raw data that is read from the tapes is not recognized by the tape restore software so additional algorithms need to be applied to make sense of this data. In general, tape data recovery success rate is high.

Data recovery is performed in clean room. Experts evaluate damaged tape and determine what efforts would be needed to restore data. This preliminary examination also determines the cost of data recovery. This is the moment when you will have the opportunity to approve or reject further activities. Data recovery services are not cheap, but the value of data archives many times justifies the effort.

Another reason for tape recovery is when the data is needed in criminal procedures. Tape archives contain data of many servers where individual computers have stored files. Even if files were deleted from these computers they are still present in backups and archives on the tape. Forensic data recovery experts will examine tapes and recover data that may provide additional evidence.

To prevent data loss and paying expensive data recovery services you need to store tapes in secure cabinets where conditions like humidity and temperature will not cause harm to the magnetic tape. It is also a good idea to store some copies far away from the servers just in case if a disaster like fire or flood destroys one place.


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