a tape robot
or tape library
is a device that automatically loads a tape drive
Usually found close to really big iron
, it is generally used either to automate backup
s or to serve data
from *really* large collections: an example would be historic sequences of satellite
images or seismic data
Since it is very expensive to put this stuff on primary storage (read: disks), and since having to phone the tape dude to ask him to mount tape #13324-A7 is slow and expensive, the tape robot was born.
They go all the way from little 7 tapes things to huge terrifying things that look like high-tech gazebos with things moving on the inside. And laser red lights, reading the optical codes printed on the back of the tapes (remember, belt AND suspenders).