Arkeia Software

Backup To Tape

Backup-to-tape remains the most cost-effective strategy for securing large volumes of data over long periods of time. Today, 63% of WD Arkeia customers back up some data direct-to-tape, while 41% of customers replicate some backups from disk-to-tape.

Backup to Tape

The WD Arkeia network backup suite supports tape, disk, VTL, and cloud storage. For tape storage, we support virtually all tape drives, tape libraries, and tape autoloaders available today. These tape devices include those attached via SCSI, Fibre Channel, Infiniband, SATA, SAS, iSCSI, and USB connectivity.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Reliable
  • Cost-effective off-site storage at large volumes
  • “Green” (uses no power during storage)
  • Portable
  • Administratively and logistically complex
  • Cost of tape automation


Tape remains a popular backup destination primarily because it offers reliable, cost-effective data storage, as well as a mechanism to move data off-site. Tape libraries can offer very high throughput when configured with multiple tape drives. Tape represents a “green” technology because tapes require no power until accessed and because tape storage is very dense in TB per cubic meter. Even companies in the cloud vanguard, like Google, depend on tape for data protection. Read Curtis Preston's ("Mr. Backup") comments about the reliability of various types of disk vs. various kinds tape.

Supported Tape Technologies

We support over 350 named tape devices. Our list of supported tape drives, tape libraries, and tape auto-loaders is continuously updated—but cannot be 100% up-to-date with the new devices that are being continually introduced. If you do not see your drive listed, please contact us. Chances are, we already support your tape device because most new tape devices appear to our software as existing tape devices. If your device respects the SCSI-II standard, it’s a simple exercise to validate support.

If you wish to test WD Arkeia on your drive, library, or auto-loader (jukebox), and it’s not on our “known to be supported list,” please fill out our demo request form and specify the tape device you are using. List Manufacturer, brand, and model number. Also describe the device in terms of number-of-drives, number-of-slots, and tape technology (e.g. LTO4) used.

Tape Technical Details

WD Arkeia utilizes the automatic read-after-write capabilities provided by every tape drive, library, and autoloader that adheres to SCSI II specifications. If the drive adheres to SCSI II, it is visible to the operating system as a SCSI device, and WD Arkeia supports that drive. A small number of very low-end tape drives do not support the read-after-write standard. To avoid problems linked to hardware dysfunction, WD Arkeia does not support these low-end devices.

To support a tape library or autoloader, we need to be able to control its drives and its tape cartridge transport (i.e., its “arm”). Because the SCSI II standard defines commands for this purpose, we can support all devices that respect the SCSI-II standard.

Fortunately, virtually all tape drives and libraries respect this standard—even if they are not SCSI-connected. In this case, manufacturer-supplied drivers make them appear as SCSI devices to the operating system. As a result, we support virtually all tape libraries (or auto-loaders) that are connected via:

  • SCSI
  • Fibre channel
  • Infiniband
  • SAN
  • iSCSI

A third category of tape devices is connected via SATA or USB. It’s in this category that we encounter most of the low-end drives that do not support the read-after-write standard. As a result, we only support most tape drives that are connected via:

  • SATA
  • USB

Try WD Arkeia with your device: click here to begin a free trial.