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Effective management encompasses the imperative task of data recovery for organizations. This article delves into tape data recovery, a specialized process to retrieve inaccessible, lost, or damaged data from tape drives. Explore the nuances of this critical component in the realm of data management.

Tape drives have been a cost-effective and high-capacity data storage solution for decades. Nevertheless, similar to other storage devices, they are susceptible to physical damage, logical errors, and data corruption. These unfortunate circumstances can lead to the irreversible loss of valuable information.

Why Do Organizations Use Tape Drives?

Tape drives are efficient data storage devices that utilize magnetic tapes for storing and accessing data. They have become very popular, especially among businesses handling large amounts of data. Tape drives are a reliable option for long-term data storage and backups. Additionally, tape drives offer cost-effective storage with lower per-gigabyte costs and offline data storage for protection against cyber threats.

Organizations choose tape drives as a vital component of their data backup and archival strategy for various compelling reasons.


Tape drives provide great storage capacity, making them ideal for managing vast datasets accessed infrequently. They offer a reliable solution for storing and preserving large volumes of data while ensuring efficiency and access whenever needed.


These items exhibit remarkable reliability and feature an exceptional shelf life, ensuring the long-term retention of valuable data.


Tape drives offer a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to balance their data storage needs within budgetary constraints. 

They provide an attractive option that optimizes affordability and capability, enabling organizations to manage their storage requirements effectively.

Common Causes of Data Loss in Tape Drives

Although tape drives are generally reliable, it is important to note that they are not immune to data loss. Several factors can contribute to data loss in tape drives:

Physical Damage

Tapes can incur damage due to accidental drops, mishandling, or exposure to adverse environmental conditions.

Tape Life

Over time, tapes can undergo diminishing reliability and elevate the likelihood of data loss.

Compatibility Issues

Compatibility issues can arise when tape drive technology or software changes, making data recovery from older tapes more complex.

Human Errors

Unintentionally deleting, formatting, corrupting, or overwriting data on tapes can lead to the loss of valuable information.

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Tape Backup Data Recovery Case

We recently received a data recovery request from a large company storing its backups on The IBM Ultrium magnetic tape drives. He said the files’ reading/writing processes significantly slowed down, causing downtime. The customer did some research and decided to contact us.

After consulting with our customer service representative, he requested an emergency data retrieval solutionThis option is for customers who have to access their files urgently. Our service offers the optimal solution for companies seeking to minimize downtime. With a swift turnaround time of 8-48 hours, we ensure efficient and timely execution.

We received the media storage, and our engineers started to inspect every drive in our certified ISO Certified Class 10 Cleanroom. A clean room is crucial for data recovery, as even a tiny dust particle can damage sensitive storage components. 

During the diagnostics, our engineers noticed that due to the ingress of crumbling particles of the magnetic layer into the gap between the recording and playback heads, the tightness of the tape working surface to them was disturbed. 


That led to a deterioration in the quality of the recorded and reproduced signal, especially in the high-frequency range. You may lose movement in a recording/playback channel, but cleaning the magnetic tape heads eliminates this issue. Our engineers cleaned the tapes’ read/write heads and surfaces with an ultrasonic cleaner.

The advantage of the ultrasonic cleaner is the cleaning of hard-to-reach areas, which is the essential tool factor. Enhanced capillary effects occur during the cleaning process, which lifts the destroyed particles of contaminants from the filter mesh and removes them from the head through the excretory tubes.

After cleaning, we evaluated the total damage to the magnetic layers. Unfortunately, the customer has irreversibly lost some of the data on the damaged components. 

However, when sending the tapes to us, our customer mentioned that financial records are considered a high priority.  As a result, we successfully recovered saved 100% of them.

We extracted and transferred all the available data to magnetic tape storage models. The client reviewed all the data recovery results and approved the rescued files.

Data loss is critical and stressful, but our company will make this situation more manageable. We have supported a 99% success rate for years and are ready to help our clients with any data loss scenario. Contact PITS Global Data Recovery Services via customer service or request help form to retrieve lost tape recordings quickly.

Frequently Asked Question

Tape is a great backup option: cost-effective, has high storage capacity, and is reliable for long-term data retention.

Tape backups remain widely used in various industries for secure offline storage and efficient data archiving.

 Properly stored tape storage can last for many years. Some tapes have a shelf life of up to 30 years or more.

Tape storage has a notable drawback – slower data access than advanced storage solutions such as solid-state drives. Retrieving data from tapes may entail longer waiting times.