A tape library (robotic library) is a high-capacity storage device that contains the following:

  • one or more tape drives
  • multiple (up to several thousand) slots to hold tape cartridges
  • one or more loaders (robotic mechanisms) intended for relocating the tape cartridges between the slots and the tape drives
  • barcode readers (optional).

Each tape may have a special label attached to the side of a cartridge and comprise of:

  • a barcode to scan by a special reader that is usually mounted on a loader
  • a readable barcode digital value.

Such labels are used for tape identification in a tape library or especially in off-site storage.

If all cartridges in a tape library have barcodes, the library is ready to be automatically managed by software.

Tape libraries are a cost-effective solution for data storages with huge capacity. Moreover, tape is perfect for archiving because cartridges can be stored off-site for enhanced data security. However reading even a small amount of data from a tape library takes much more time (from several seconds to several minutes) than from other types of data storages. The best practice of tape usage is “LESS requests to write/read LARGER amount of data”. So systematic access to very large quantities of data is more suitable for a tape library than random access to small portions of data.