by Marc M. Batschkus and Clay Teramo – CEO The Data Media Source, San Jose, California

LTO Tape is an excellent storage media, but what to do when tape sets are replaced or no longer needed?

We recently learned of a business and solution concerning tape re-use and recycling that we hadn’t been previously aware of. Of the millions of LTO tapes that have been sold since it started in 2000, many are no longer needed and pile up at their users’ facilities. There is a number of reasons why specific sets of tapes are no longer needed:

  • Replacing an older LTO generation with a newer one e.g. replacing LTO-5 with LTO-8
  • Expiration of the data on them, e.g. business data that is older than 10 years
  • Reducing tape backup use because of moving to disk or cloud storage
  • Migration of tape archive to disk or cloud
  • Projects or departments abandoned or closed

LTO Tape is an excellent backup and archive media. Traditionally only accessible to large corporations and their data centres, tape has moved into many industries and is used even in small production environments because of its many advantages and unbeatable price point, starting at 10$ per TB with LTO-6. LTO tape has high value, low cost is extremely reliable, has amazing longevity… But, what to do with it when you no longer need it? Whatever the reason, now hundreds or even thousands of tapes with enormous amounts of data are obsolete and in need of secure disposal. What’s the best choice for maximum data security and documentation, minimum environmental impact and best financial result?

Shredding vs. Recycling

Shredding tapes is a common choice. However, it is costly, there are some serious chain of custody and data security issues with shredding and the messy, toxic shredded material must still be disposed of somewhere. So Data Media Source in California came up with a much better way.

They have a process using a special device that will linear degauss (high power erase) all the readable data from any LTO tape. Additionally, this leaves it intact for repurposing and reclaim of residual value. 

The benefits add up:

  • Proven data erasure
  • Chain of custody documentation
  • Avoids shredding and the waste stream
  • Tapes left intact so it can be re-used
  • Value can be recouped.

Instead of creating a purchase order and paying $1 or more per tape for destruction and disposal, you can actually get paid for your old tapes. Depending on tape generation, condition and market value, Data Media Source pays between $2 and $10 per tape. They handle all the logistics, security and documentation for you – at no cost.

How do they do it?

The core of this solution are simple and reliable machines that precision erase all data bands from end-to-end in 3 minutes at a magnetic strength 10 times higher than standard tape heads, leaving the servo tracks intact. An onboard, real-time, permanent record provides perfect documentation of total data destruction. Plus, the tape is simultaneously surface cleaned, precision retained, performance tested and completely data free – basically in “new tape” condition. There are many businesses and regions that can only afford these pre-used media.

So now there is a choice: pay to move, count and shred your tapes into a mess that harms the environment or get paid to have the whole process handled correctly for you with proven state of the art technology that protects you, your data and the planet.

Not only LTO tapes but also other kind of tape can be re-used. The Data Media Source offers a free white paper on the process, same-day proposal and cost benefit analysis.

About DMS:
Beginning as a computer media dealer in Silicon Valley in the early ’80’s, we offered to our customers the unique service of refurbishing their round reel tape for their own re-use. This developed into buying back used tape and offering cash or credit toward new tape. Today The Data Media Source, Inc. is the largest buyer in the country of both new and used inventories of excess and obsolete data media, buying nearly $5 Million worth every year. More information at

What to do with all those tapes?
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