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Why Tape Backups will disappear

by Keith Baddams

Semi retired Techie

What are the choices and how many new devices are available?

What is the cost per MB?

What is the Cost RULE in OFFICES & Public?


The inherent disadvantage with Tape has always been instant file access (it takes time to find a restore spot on the tape). Floppy, ZIP, JAZ and now portable Hard Drives, CDR, CDRW, give instant file retrieval access.


For Backup/Copying Files to move to another computer, floppy discs at 1440KB or 1722KB are severely limited and that is why Iomega Zip with 100MB Disks caught on, with choice of Internal IDE/SCSI or Parallel interface - it meant you could connect to any PC with parallel interface.


CDR & CD RW with Recorders reducing in price with Sales increasing, means availability of cheaper media & higher capacity 650MB. Currently Acer CRW 2x write, 2x rewrite, 6x read approx. $100 US (use the link for current prices or go to price watch, a very good site for pricing any makes).
For example CRW4432a, 4x write, 4x rewrite, 32x read can replace your CD ROM player. CDR are under $2 Can or CDRW are less than $3.00Can and can be rewritten over 1000 times.
As all CD-ROM's cannot read CDRW, portable unit USB or Parallel covers that point in offices.
At present sales of Zip / Jaz etc are very low and CD Recorders are High.
Backups on CDRW can be reused, and they are easy to use on any PC, as most have CD player installed, but not for offices without CD unit installed. The next option is a Portable CD Recorder/Player with parallel or USB adapters. There are Cases with power supply and IDE to parallel adapters for about $90Can that can be used for CD ROM/CD Recorders/Hard Drives.
Make sure that the firmware in your CD Rom/Recorders is upgradeable.

Portable Hard Drive

Today PC all have an USB interface. This opens up more possibilities because Portable Hard Drive can be up to 300GB and can copy whole PC & take home in briefcase. Also Office backup portable Hard Drive will be faster to use than tape, can access any files quicker to copy. Also size can be increased easily if a Standard PC hard drive is used. Because of speed limits in parallel interface. Users will be faster with USB and USB 2 interfaces. I can see Offices using Portable USB Hard Drives, makes it possible to leave nothing vital on Desk PC, can take portable with you and also very fast Backups.


Yes there are DVD Recorders at present approx. $1000 US, records 2.5GB on one side Disk + 2nd side making 5GB total. 5GB CD's are coming.
So a whole hard drive can fit on a single DVD Disk is going to be available.
But at present cheaper CD Writers/Burners or portable Hard Drive has no size limits.
Will be replacing Tape Backups / Zip, Jaz Drives at lower cost/MB.

Comparison Chart




Iomega Zip Drive 100MB

Iomega Zip 250






To Backup 3GB total costs

$199.00 only

$230 only

30 Disks + Drive $298.50+$99.95 =$398.45

12 Disks + Drive $199.92+$169= $369.87

Time to Backup



Change 30 Disks SLOW

Change 12 Disks SLOW

Seek Time: Min Max Avg.

4.0ms 23ms 13ms

4.0ms 23ms 13ms

4.0ms 55ms 29ms

4.0ms 55ms 29ms

Data Transfer Rate USB





Drive life, load & unload cycles

300,000hrs 300,000cycles

300,000hrs 300,000cycles

100,000hrs 10,000 insertions & removals

100,000hrs 10,000 Insertions & Removals

Drive life 5rs on All 4

All systems

All Systems

All Systems

All Systems

Ram total affects all running programs

PC salesmen always push CPU speed, not total amount of RAM.
Amount off Ram is more important than CPU speed, as it limits Max Speed achieved. Benchmark test will verify this. DrSalmans Ram Magnifier increases RAM by compressing contents.
My 72MB is magnified to 116MB (32MB is magnified to 50MB) runs with WRTF.EXE faster.
Why, oh why, are new PC's offered with only 32MB SD Ram when optimum is 96MB Ram.
It runs slower as Windows Swap File is working overtime. Even 64MB Ram = minimum of 64MB Swap File...
So 128MB Ram is Great. NO Swap File or very small usage off.  32MB SD Ram = 96MB Swap File very slow, to use CD Burner have to turn every possible program off,to minimize Ram usage.
Like I do for grandchild to play games: minimize running programs too 11 total + games
That way PC never jams up, WRTF=WinRam Turbo Free keeps from running out off RAM.Works GREAT. CD Burner Programs Adaptec/Nero/Ashampoo CD Recording Studio / Gear Pro / Gear Data looks promising ability to Burn small amounts at a time, like using a 650MB Floppy
NOVASTOR Instant CD Suite looks good with Instant Write 650MB Floppy CD-RW
Portable Hard Drive 13GB@ $230 US=13312MB/230= 57.88MB/$1.00 US.
Only CD-ROM 650MB/$2.00 beats this value.

Always after Game session cleanup Hard Drive, Scandisk/Defrag, or better Norton Disk Doctor/Speed Disk, are superior to Windows Scandisk/Defrag run faster too. Part off Norton Utilities.
Game players should Cleanup every 48hrs off running once a week all others, I hate being called because off problems & find Hard Drive has not been cleaned up for one to 6 months, Scandisk/Defrag took 3hrs to cleanup mess. Very unnecessary time wasted.
It used to be 10% Fragmentation cleanup, but 1GB hardDrive,10%=102.4MB fragmented was Standard.
Now 4GB/10GB/30GB Hard Drives, so 100MB is less than 10% (2.5% ---.333%)

3x life hrs on Hard Drives.57.88MB/$1.00 US (only CD-ROM 650MB/$2.00 is less).
Zip Drives for only 100 or 250MB capacity, CD's 650MB,Hard Drive for GB's Tape Backup TR3 (4.4GB) $119Can. + tapes 3.2GB $40Can. = $159.00Can. Total CD ROM Drives $100--$150 US +media 5CDR's for 3GB=less than $10 compares with Tape pricing, but access CDR is quicker.
As Jaz more costly than Zip $470 to copy 3GB (Same costs as 2 portable 13GB Hard Drives) It should be easy to produce a case + power supply for CD ROM/CD Burner /Hard Drive. The trickier part is the IDE to Parallel or USB converter.
Canadian pricing used parts supplier as all prices are fluctuating & exchange Euro etc., please uses links for current prices.
Offices replacing Pent I with new Pentium III, why not use old unit with ethernet as Backup, Large Hard Drive + CD Recorder can be added. It can use 3 hard Drives + CD unit total. Ethernet is fast.

Hope all above INFO helps
Bye from goofy techie guy Keith

For inquisitive I am semi retired techie. UK citizen living in SW Ontario, Canada with Beavers & Mounties. If you want to contact me, Email to:



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