Computer Tape Automation Born

Fifty years ago today, IBM announced the Hypertape Automatic Cartridge Loader, the first device to permit automatic loading and unloading of magnetic tape for electronic computers.

Ten years earlier, IBM introduced the magnetic tape drive vacuum column, making it possible for fragile magnetic tape to become a viable data storage medium. IBM: “Magnetic tape storage introduced the world to the idea of digital storage. Before tape, information was saved on punched cards—the data was tangible. But with magnetic tape, you could no longer see the data on the storage medium. This was a whole new concept…. tape remains the most cost-effective, flexible and scalable medium for high-capacity storage backup today—more than 50 years after it was first introduced as a storage medium.”

Data Mobility Group, March 1, 2011: “For more than a decade vendors with only disk based storage systems have been trying to convince IT buyers that tape-based storage is obsolete. Despite the marketing efforts of disk-only vendors, tape continues to play a vital role in most data centers and Data Mobility Group believes tape will become even more important in the years ahead.”

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