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The Pros and Cons of Recycled Tape Media

Aug 17, 2007
Buying recycled tape media for your storage drives can be a smart way to reduce costs associated with data storage. However, there are facts that you must consider before choosing lower-cost recycled tape storage. While some businesses regularly use recycled tape media to meet their data storage needs, there are arguments against its use as well.

Just like the audio tapes that you could re-record again and again, computer data can be erased, resold, and reused. Companies that sell recycled tape storage such as Graham Magnetics and DTC buy used cartridges from businesses, then inspect, test, and retest each individual cartridge and sell it as "like new." Because these are not new, it's less expensive than buying it as new.

If you do decide to use recycled data storage, it's important that you choose a company that guarantees and certifies the quality. There is no industry standard definition of "certified" when it comes to this type tape storage. The value of the certification is essentially as strong as the reputation of the company that provides the refurbished tape and marks it as certified.

The most prominent concern with purchasing used tape media is that the end consumer has no idea where they originated or how it has been cared for. Though high-quality tape recycling companies thoroughly test and hinge their reputation on the quality of what they are selling, the 'origin unknown' factor just doesn't sit well with some.

Tape media doesn't last forever and does deteriorate over time. With used products, one doesn't necessarily know how far along in its lifespan an individual used cartridge is. High temperatures and humidity are both factors that can shorten the lifespan, no matter its age. If stored properly, new cartridges will generally last for 20 years.

Suppliers of used tape media often offer their own lifespan guarantees. Graham Magnetics for example offers a quality guarantee of 10 years while DTC backs the quality of their cartridges for 5 years. If you're serious about keeping your data for longer than can be guaranteed by a recycled tape media provider, then you may want to choose to purchase new cartridges.

The choice to use new or recycled depends on your company's current situation. For a new, budget conscious company, choosing recycled storage for its lower cost is far better than holding off on implementing a data storage solution because of the cost of new media. Plenty of companies have relied on recycled tape media with no problems whatsoever, but ultimately you must balance the potential risks and rewards associated with new and used tape media against your individual business strategy.
About the Author
Author is a writer for Sunstar Co, who specializes in disk
storage and backup solutions
. For more information you can visit http://www.SunStarCo.com.
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