Archival Tape Storage: How to Maintain the Proper Environment

Topics: Data Archive | Govern Information | Offsite Tape Vaulting

Taking proper care of your tapes ensures that they have the ability to keep your data secure for up to three decades.

Magnetic tapes are one of the most durable types of storage media, but it is hardly immortal. Like any media, tape's life expectancy is strongly influenced by storage conditions.

According to the National Media Library, tape will last for 30 years if it's stored under ideal conditions. However, that rosy forecast diminishes if you don't follow storage best practices. For example, at 68° F and 50 percent relative humidity, tape will last an estimated 30 years, but at 68° F and 80 percent relative humidity, the life expectancy is reduced to only five years. Higher temperatures also diminish life expectancy, but relative humidity is the most critical factor.