Just as every living room once had video recorder then there was a time when every small business used tapes to back up precious data.

Well the days of backing up to tape in an autoloader or small library look increasingly numbered as technology advances and costs of disc storage drop.

A sign of the changing times is the deal between Imation and BDT, a white-box manufacturer of tape autoloaders and libraries, devices with up to four tape drives and 96 slots for cartridges.

Imation is well aware that tape media is on the decline because reading and writing is slow, compared to disk, and the costs of long-term storage on disk are going down due to increased hard drive capacity and deduplication.

However, tape is still the long term low-cost storage king for bulk data, petabytes of the stuff, but increasingly disk is the preferred choice for smaller amounts of data.

Back to my story. Now get this: Imation has a deal with ProStor, makers of RDX removable disk drive technology. They will produce a new 2.5-inch drive cartridges, offering 1TB of storage, and docks into which the drive cartridges are loaded.

What’s the difference between a tape automation device and an RDX one? Well with the latter you don’t need a robot mechanism to move cartridges to drives, as each RDX cartridge contains a drive. Still with me?

What does all this mean? Well in short, we expect to start seeing the fruits of this new regime arrive early next year. When it happens the world of tape will take another doddery step towards the Antiques Roadshow.