Tape Backup - What Are The Alternative Backup Methods?

Tape drives provided the backup solution of choice for many, many years. In the days of limited capacity hard drives and tiny floppy disks the concept of being able to store gigabytes of information on a tape seemed ideal. Sure they were slow, the tapes snapped at times but you just couldn't argue with the storage capacities on offer. Being able to store several dozen gigabytes of data in the days when a one gigabyte hard drive was considered large was a real bonus. Tape drives were extremely popular at this time because large hard drives were ridiculously expensive and most users simply couldn't afford them. For mass storage a tape or DAT drive was the only way to fly.

How times have changed though! In just a few short years the tape drive has now moved to the bottom of the backup foodchain. Bigger and meaner creatures have moved into view and are taking over the data backup landscape. Although tape is still a viable backup medium there are now simply faster and more reliable ways of getting the job done. For one the extremely low cost of hard drives has made RAID setups for home users a reality. Heck with the cost of a basic PC these days you can just go and setup a small file server and have the ultimate backup solution.

So what other alternatives are there to tape drives for backing up your data? Well external hard drives have plummeted in cost and made quantum leaps forward in reliability and speed. They're also available in capacities from 100GB to over 1,000GB so they can go toe-to-toe with most mid-level tape drives in terms of storage but run rings around the tape drives in performance and reliability and they don't cost the earth either. A 500GB USB external hard drive should cost about $200 in most online stores.