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Tape Formats

NDC handles every tape format, from reel tapes to cartridge tapes, ever released commercially. Our capabilities span the earliest generations of 7-track and 9-track tape technologies, all the way to the most advanced tape technologies currently available, such as IBM 3592, STK 9940 and all generations of DLT/SDLT and LTO Ultrium tapes.

Below you will find an abbreviated list of some of the formats we support
... if you don't find a tape of interest listed here call to confirm our capabilities to handle that format.

1/2" 7-track and 9-track Open Reel Tape
Mostly found on IBM mainframe or midrange systems, such as VAX/VMS, Honeywell, Wang etc., and sometimes Unix. The earliest technologies encompassed 7-track tapes with densities of 200, 556 and 800 BPI, They were then replaced with 9-track recording methodology on essentially the same reel media that encompassed 800, 1600, 3200, and 6250 bpi densities. A 10" extra length tape, (3,600 feet) at 6250 bpi density can hold up to 180MB. NDCI  handles all 7-track & 9-track tapes.

3480/3490E/3590 Cartridges
This successor to the 1/2-inch tape reel format was used mostly on IBM (and other manufacturers) mainframe and midrange computers such as the IBM AS400. Capacities range from 200MB for 3480, to 180GB for 3590H using the extended length 3590K tape cartridge. We can handle all 3480, 3480 compressed, 3490, 3490E, 3590B,  3590E and 3590H related cartridges.Some proprietary flavors came out with limited success (LMSI, STK, Unisys).

3570 Magstar Cartridges
Tape cartridge format mostly associated with IBM AS400 and RISC6000 systems. The 3570 came in an original unlettered model and then Models B and C. Developed by IBM starting in 1996, the 3570C XL cartridge can hold 7GB/15GB (compressed).

8mm Exabyte Mammoth, Sony AIT , VXA Cartridges
Starting with the original 8mm Exabyte 8200 format that could store up to 2.5GB, the technology evolved through various generations of Exabyte products (8205, 8500 8505, 8700, 8705, 8900, Mammoth 1 & 2, VXA etc.) the technology was then adopted by Sony for their AIT product line (see further below). We support all 8mm formats including proprietary compression formats from Cybernetics, Gigatrend etc.

4mm DAT Cartridges, DDS-1, DDS-2, DDS-3, DDS-4, DDS-5 (also known as DAT72)
The 4MM DAT technology evolved over the years from the initial DDS1 tapes that stored 1.3GB to the current DAT72 DDS-5 format that stores up to 72GB. The capacity depends on a tape length and generation of a drive used. All 4mm formats are supported by NDCI including DDS-1 1.3GB, DDS-2 2/4GB, DDS-3 12/24GB, DDS-4 20/40GB and DDS-5 36/72GB.

DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) PDP-11/VAX TK Tape Cartridges
Starting with the proprietary TK-25 QIC 1/4" cartridge format, the TK family evolved to the 1/2" TK-50, TK-70, TK-85, TK-88.and TK-90 formats that were the pre-cursors for the DLT family of tapes. TK-25 is a QIC format tape and is used with DEC equipment. Other TK formats have same form factor as more modern DLT tapes. NDCI can read all TK formats, including the associated operating systems such as VAX/VMS, RT-11, RSTS-E, RSX-11M, TOPS-20, OpenVMS.

For many years the most popular corporate backup format the family of tapes started with DLT II (2.6GB), DLT III(10/20GB), DLT IV(20/40, 35/70, 40/80GB), and evolved into the SDLT (Super DLT)  tapes (see below).Medium to high capacity media used on all operating systems. Maximum capacity of the DLT IV cartridge is 80GB compressed when used with Quantum DLT 8000 drive. SuperDLT media can hold up to 220 GB compressed. All DLT formats are supported by NDCI.

1/4" QIC Minicartridges DC2000, DC2040, DC2080, DC2120, DC3010, DC3020
Used mostly for personal computers, because of low cost and small form factor the mini-cartridges use inexpensive media that can store 20MB to 1400MB of data. NDCI can read all minicartridge formats including Ximat and Rhomat (Irwin Accutrack) formats. Populr manufacturers were IRWIN, Iomega, Maynard Archive, Colorado Memory Systems (Jumbo family) etc.

Travan Cartridges TR-1, TR-2 (IBM, TR-3, TR-4, TR-5, TR-7, TR-20
Descendant of mini-cartridge format and developed by 3M, can hold from 400MB to 40BG worth of data. NDCI can handle all Travan formats, including the QIC-Wide series. Manufacturers whol utilized the Travan format include HP (SureStore product lien), Seagate (TapeStor & Hornet products), Tecmar (NS20), Quantum and AIWA (TD-2001). Tapes include QIC-80-MC, QIC-3010-MC, QIC-3020-MC, QIC-3095-MC, etc.

Ultrium LTO Cartridges LTO1, LTO2, LTO3, LTO4
Based on technology developed by IBM and widely OEM'd, this format is quickly gaining ground as the dominant technology in the corporate enterprise backup space. The LTO1 100/200GB, LT02 200/400GB, LTO3 400/800GB and LTO4 (800GB/1.6TB) tape drives are now produced by HP, Seagate, Tandberg, Quantum, Exabyte, and many others. NDC was involved in early stage benchmarking of the LTO technology vs. SDLT on behalf of IBM.

Teac Cassette Cartridges CT500, CT600H, CT600N
Based on the audio cassette tape, originally developed by TEAC and OEM'd by a few companies (Wang used an early 10/20mb version on their 22000 series) they can hold 60MB, 150MB, and 600MB depending on cartridge and drive type. We support all cassette tape formats.

Super DLT SDLT 220, SDLT360, SDLT600, S4
The SDLT format is the successor to the DLT tape family form Quantum. Starting with the SDLT-1 110/220GB, SDLT-2 160/320GB and SDLT-3 300/600GB formats, the SDLT family is locked in fierce battle with the LTO/Ultrium technology for corporate enterprise backup mindshare. The DLT-S4 is an 800GB/1.6TB format that succeeds the SDLT family and competes with the LTO4 format.

IBM 3592, IBM TS1120
Successor to the IBM 3590 tape family, the 3592 (300/600GB) format was utilized mostly in IBM mainframe environments. It was replaced by the TMS1120 family that utilizes essentially the same physical media format. The IBM 3592J tape cartridges come in several flavors JJ/JR (60/100GB fast access), JA/JW (300/500GB high capacity)and the JB extended length and JX WORM 700GB (for TS1120 drives only) formats. The TS1120 stores 700GB/1.4TB on a 3592 tape cartridge.

StorageTek STK 9840A/B/C, STK 9940A/B, STK T10000 (Titanium)
These are STK (StorageTek) proprietary formats. Storagetek was recently purchased by SUN. Starting with the 9840 series (A/B/C) 20/40/80GB and then the T9940A (60/240GB) and T9940B (200/400GB) the technology progressed to the T10000 Titanium 500GB/1TB) technology. Mostly used for mainframe or enterprise based backups in specialized applications (CERN uses them).

StorageTek STK 4480 4490 Silverton, STK 9490 9490EE Timberline

Based on the IBM 3490E 36-track technology with 1.6/3.2GB capacity on 9490EE media. STK 4490, also known as Silverton, was subsequently replaced by the STK 9840 line of products and the 9490, 400/800MB, known as Timberline were both developed to compete with IBM's popular 3490/E format in mainframe applications.

Sony DTF I & II

Based on the Sony Digital betacam technoloogy utilizing 1/2-inch metal particle tape. GY-2120 tape drive utilizes the DTF I 42/108GB format. GY8240FC series of tape drives utilize DTF II 200/518GB fomat. Largely unknown in the US, enjoyed limited popularity in Japan and other overseas markets.

Sony AIT (AIT-1, AIT-2, AIT-3, AIT-4, AIT-5)
The Sony AIT family of tapes is descended from the 8MM Exabyte technology with the addition of a “smart” memory chip in the tape cartridge casing to track tape contents. This family of tapes covers the AIT1, AIT2, AIT3, AIT4, & AIT5 series. 

QIC-based 1/4" Full-size Cartridges DC300XL,  DC600A, DC6150, DC6250, DC520, MLR, SLR
A popular format in the 1980's for midrange systems and some PC based applications, the technology evolved from DC300XL, DC600A, DC6150, DC6250, DC6520, thru SLR, MLR formats.
Many manufacturers uitilized this technology, including Archive, Maynard, IBM, DEC, Wang, Tandberg, Colorado Memory Systems, Alloy, Emerald, Wangtek, Wangdat, etc.

Data General 1/2" Cartridge
Data General proprietary format supported by NDCI.


Sony SAIT, Comac, ECRIX VXA, Gigatrend, Interdyne, Cybernetics, Mountain, Pertec, Wangtek, Wangdat, Maynard, Irwin, Tecmar, ADR Onstream, GigaTrend, Emerald, Iomega, Archive.


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