tape library

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tape library

[′tāp ‚lī‚brer·ē]
(computer science)
A special area, most often a room within a computer installation, used to store magnetic tapes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

tape library

A high-capacity data storage system for storing, retrieving, reading and writing multiple magnetic tape cartridges. Also called a "tape automation system," it contains storage racks for holding the cartridges and a robotic mechanism for moving the cartridge to the drive.

Tape libraries were made for almost every size and type of magnetic tape cartridge, but only the larger ones survived. Small libraries had a handful of drives and held up to several hundred cartridges. Large units support dozens of drives and thousands of cartridges.

Accessing data in a tape library takes from a few seconds to a minute or more in order to retrieve and load the cartridge into the drive and locate the data on the tape. See cartridge and magnetic tape.

A Large Tape Library
Years ago, StorageTek's RedWood SD-3 was one of the largest tape libraries, holding up to 6,000 helical scan cartridges for a total of 300 terabytes. Subsequent StorageTek units have capacities up to 50 petabytes. (Image courtesy of Storage Technology Corporation.)

Changer Mechanism
All tape and disk libraries have a robotic-like device that retracts and inserts the cartridges and moves them to the read/write heads. This photo shows the mechanism in an AIT library from Cambridge Computer Services, Inc. (www.cambridgecomputer.com). The tapes are held in a rotating carousel (left) that can hold hundreds of cartridges.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Given the investment in tape silo hardware, the company sought a method for accomplishing a backup without sacrificing the silo.
IPS devices not only enabled the sharing of storage resources more efficiently, but also enabled the removal of the server device associated with the tape silo.
IBM says Magstar also supports StorageTek's earliest automated tape silos, unlike StorageTek itself, which requires users to upgrade at least to the PowderHorn series of silos if they wish to use 9840 with them.
Its mainframe CPUs handle one billion instructions per second; storage exceeds seven terabytes of on-line DASD (direct access storage device), 11 robotic tape silos, and over 650,000 cartridge tapes.
(The RAMAC Scalable Array, or Kodiak array, is pretty much out of the picture, even though technically IBM is still selling it.) Moreover, StorageTek says that sales of TimberLine tape silos are languishing at mainframe shops and its deals with open systems vendors to try to push into those markets are not enough to offset these declines.