Tape data recovery, as the phrase suggests, is the recovery of any data that has been lost on a tape and it is an interesting process.
There are many ways in which a tape cartridge can be damaged, from dropping them to having them become damaged by water (yep, I once worked for someone who kept their tape backups in the staff canteen, right above the sink!).
There are, of course, many other ways that tape backups can become damaged, such as through mechanical failure, data corruption and extremes of temperature.
Whatever the cause of the tape failure, there is always a chance that the data on it could be recovered in one of two ways – physical recovery or logical recovery.
Physical tape data recovery is, as you can probably imagine, required when there is actual physical damage to the tape itself.
This type of recovery would be in need when the tape suffers from deterioration of it’s magnetic coating, the tape itself has snapped, the casing has been broken or any number of other problems that relate to the actual tape itself or the machinery.
If this is the type of issue that you are experiencing then you will most likely be in luck as the chances of recovery are quite high, maybe as much as 98-99% in fact.
You may be less fortunate if you require logical tape data recovery though as it is both more complicated and more expensive in most cases.
Logical data recovery is required when there is nothing mechanically wrong with the tape but the data on it still cannot be read for some reason.
Typically, a data recovery technician will need to spend quite some time with the tape in such cases, using a variety of software and hardware recovery techniques in order to recover the missing or corrupt data.
The recovery process in such cases may require several passes and there is far less certainty that it will yield any success.