What is Magnetic Tape?

Magnetic tape transport includes the robotic, mechanical, and electronic components to support the methods and control structure for a magnetic tape unit. The tape is a layer of plastic coated with a magnetic documentation medium.

Magnetic tapes are used in most organizations to save data files. Magnetic tapes use a read-write mechanism. The read-write mechanism defines writing data on or reading data from a magnetic tape. The tapes sequentially save the data manner. In this sequential processing, the device should start searching at the starting and check each record until the desired information is available.

Magnetic tape is the low-cost average for storage because it can save a huge number of binary digits, bytes, or frames on each inch of the tape. The benefit of magnetic tape contains unconditional storage, inexpensive, high data density, fast transfer rate, flexibility, and ease of use.

Magnetic tape units can be interrupted, initiated to transfer forward, or in the opposite, or it can be reversed. However, they cannot be initiated or stopped fast enough between single characters. For this reason, data is recorded in blocks defined as records. Gaps of unrecorded tape are added between records where the tape can be interrupted.

The tape begins affecting while in a gap and achieves its permanent speed by the time it arrives at the next record. Each record on tape has a recognition bit design at the starting and end. By reading the bit design at the starting, the tape control recognizes the data number.

Application Areas of Magnetic Tapes

The magnetic tapes are very much suitable for the following applications −

  • Serial or sequential processing.

  • Backing up data on tape is very cheap.

  • It is applicable for the transfer of data between multiple machines.

  • It is suitable for the storage of a large volume of data.

Advantages of Magnetic Tapes

  • Cost − Magnetic tape is one of the low-cost storage media. Therefore, backing up data on tape is very cheap.

  • Storage capacity − It is very large.

  • Portability − It is easily portable.

  • Reusable − It can remove a specific data and save another data at the same place. Therefore it can be reused.

Disadvantages of Magnetic Tapes

  • Access Time − Accessing a record requires accessing all the records before the required record. So access time is very large in magnetic tape.

  • Non-flexibility − Magnetic tape is not flexible.

  • Transmission Speed − The cost of data transfer is moderate in magnetic tape.

  • Vulnerable to damage − Magnetic tapes are highly vulnerable to damage from dust or careless handling.

  • Non-human readable − Data stored on it is not in human-readable form, therefore manual encoding is not possible at all.

Updated on: 23-Jul-2021

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