This speedy USB tape drive may make cloud backup obsolete for you

Unitex, a Japanese tape drive company, has announced the first LTO-9 tape drive with a USB connection.

The appropriately titled UNITEX USB LTO-9 drive boasts a native capacity of 18TB on one tape with transfer speeds of up to 300MBps, considerably beyond the capabilities of any cloud backup or cloud storage solution. Because it features a USB port, although a Type-A 3.0 variant, it offers near worldwide compatibility, either by default or with the use of necessary adapters.

The gadget is a follow-up to the LT80H, an LTO-8 USB tabletop drive, and will most likely cost much more; the LT80H costs $5,100, and the LTO version will most likely cost $6,000. On the other hand, LTO-9 tapes are fairly priced at less than $170, which is around half the price of an identical 18TB hard disc drive.

A Unitex spokesman acknowledged that pricing has not yet been set. They also noted the company’s tape backup-as-a-service option, which is currently available in Japan. “At the moment, we’re looking towards expanding the service to worldwide clients,” the official continued.

A strong alternative to cloud storage

Hardware-as-a-service is gaining traction in the creative sector, which creates massive volumes of data, most of which require backup. For example, OWC (a competitor to Unitex) in the United States has launched a program called Fast Forward that enables consumers to rent technology for a set monthly charge.

Data backup to tape is orders of magnitude quicker than uploading to the cloud, particularly for smaller businesses that lack the infrastructure to store terabytes of data safely. Backing up 18TB of data by USB would take roughly 17 hours, but it would take much, far longer over the internet, and tape provides a physical air gap that reduces the chance of ransomware assaults.

The possibility to rent an LTO-9 tape drive for a short length of time each month should not be underestimated. Tape is also more robust, simpler to store, takes up less space than hard drives, and has a smaller environmental effect per TB backed up than hard drives, making it an important component of any 3-2-1 backup plan.