Data Storage : LTO tape vs RDX cartridge (Updated Dec2015)

Posted on December 16th, 2015

We cannot avoid choice in today’s market. Whether it’s choosing a car, a phone, even a light bulb. This also applies to data storage. Choice is healthy, it brings options, price competition but also a higher degree of user confusion. I have lost count where due to choice I have ended up buying nothing.

So this article is about helping to distinguish between two data storage devices. Retaining your data is an important facet for every business and so a choice has to be made and not ignored.

Today we will look at the comparisons of buying Tape vs Disk. This should all be digested with the best solution for your business and not the cheapest product available. Your data is important you need to back it up (Once / Twice?) and also archive it.


LTO Tapes 
 have been with us for a long time. They shouldn’t be labelled as old technology as the media has kept up to date with today’s world. They continue to provide a safe, fast, reliable and cost effective storage solution.

RDX Cartridge  Emerged recently to challenge disk and tape storage. Which effectively has taken the better components from each and merged them into a removable hard disk storage unit.

Comparison table (prices are estimates at time of writing)

 (prices are approx at Dec2015)




Cost of Drives



Multi Disk Library

£1,900 (8 slots)

£1,700 (8 slots)

Cost of tapes



Max Capacity


2 TB

Read/ Write speeds

up to 160mb/s

up to 100mb/s

File speeds

Fast, best for large sequential backups

Fast, best for retrieving specific files


Holding long term data (5+yrs)

Holding short to medium term data


AES Encryption or WORM

AES Encryption

User friendly

Drag and drop process

Drag and drop process


In the comparison chart above the main difference is the cost of the drive and the cost of the individual tapes. With the tape solutions coming down to costs you will need to look at your specific business needs.

Both will provide a robust, secure and fast backup and restore. If your company requires less than 10TB of data storage then the RDX option would be a good choice, so long as you do not need to expand capacity in the future.

If though, your business will go down the high, ever growing capacity route, a need for offsite backup/Disaster Recovery and an onsite archive/restore (ie 2 locations, 2 tapes) then LTO would be more viable as although the drive is relatively expensive once you have a few months worth of data backed up, cheaper media is the better option.

For LTO tape options go to :

For RDX cartridge options :


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