In today’s IT climate there is strong pressure to do more with less as storage managers look for ways to secure data economically. When it comes to tape stored data, does it make sense to cut corners with used media? Does selling used and unwanted media put your business information at risk? Has used tape media surpassed its recommended working life? What should you be aware of? In this BlogBytes we will review some of the highlights from a compelling study by Ovation Data.


An ESG report notes that data is growing at 40-50% per year* which indicates that the amount of tapes needed to store data may also increase. Data growth challenges storage managers to “squeeze every last drop of value from their operational budgets.” One method storage managers should not consider is to purchase used tape media. LTO technology offers outstanding value and as described in the report “it is also a rigorously controlled, standards-based format, with minimum requirements for performance and interchangeability that all licensees must meet in order to sell their solutions. Outside of this authorized market, however, the same standards and requirements do not apply and this is particularly true of the recertified, second-hand, tape media market.”


The report discusses three key subjects involved with the second-hand tape media marketplace: Security, Environment, and Economics.

Security – The matter of security primarily affects the seller of the tapes. “Does data remain on the tape when it is sold on the secondary market?” The answer as shown with examples in the study is that yes it can which exposes data security vulnerability for the seller.

Environment – Regarding the environmental aspect of second-hand media, the report findings raise powerful questions about “recertified media integrity when it comes to the vital purpose of backing up or archiving valuable business data.”

Economics – The report delves into the economics of this subject matter which is one of the key motivations for considering this undertaking. However, as noted in the report, “in a number of instances, the actual purchase price of the second-hand cartridges was more expensive than brand new media purchased from a verifiable source. Even where recertified media was cheaper, the saving (in comparison to the risk of loss of data, the risk of security or privacy breaches, and the potential damage to brand reputation) seemed hardly sufficient to justify some of these risks.”

IT execs have a desire to reduce costs and do more with less. However, this study concludes that “purchasing recertified (second-hand) media is very unlikely to help businesses achieve their procurement goals.” See the details in the complete Ovation Data report study by Ovation Data

*Tape Landscape Report, Enterprise Strategy Group, 2020