Tape Storage

Is tape storage a viable method of storing data, in a non commercial environment? Do cheaper LTO drives exist?
As a young spring chicken without any system admin experience, I have never encountered a tape drive in the wild. I’ve only recently remembered they even exist, and looking at prices it seems pretty appealing (without the drive). Even the speeds look pretty good (but I’m sure there are some caveats) .

In a non commercial environment I don’t see that being a viable option imo… I would consider getting an 8tb drive or something along that area when wanting to save bulk data.

When you can find a cheap (used) LTO drive, then it depends on how much data you want to archive.
2.5TB LTO tape are about 40€ ($26) example

As said, the problem is the drive.

The problem is not only the drive but the software. I recall doing manual data recovery via tape and it was not fast or easy with basic level software (Symantec in this case). The more advanced stuff was okay but that was enterprise grade tape libraries with robotic arms and the software to match (IBM Tivoli in this case).

The issue was do you know where the file you want is on the tape? If it is not stored in a DB the tape recovery software you have to re-catalog or re-index (whatever term is used) the tape into the DB before the recovery.

I also recall the lovely job of having to error check old tapes to make sure the data was still intact. More than once I was asked to recover something only to find the tape was totally useless. Again this was an issue on the cheap side where as on the expensive side multiple copies of the file were on multiple tapes throughout the library.

Maybe stuff has changed in the last decade.

I just remember a video of a pair of sysadmins who worked for a large MMO talking about a DB recovery. Whenever one would mention “tape” the other would cut him off (joke / not joke) and say “fuck tape”.

I use AWS S3 as my backup from my FreeNAS. If you need cold storage use AWS Glacier.

I would also be interested in modern LTO drives and the software with it, how does it work and how is it to handle it?