First of all I would like to mention that a great number out there do not have LANs and/or Servers...
You are certainly right to have a negative opinion of Tape Drives because of your incident but then again I would say that your situation is quite an exception. From experience I have seen that people who back up on HDDs and Tape Drives do definitely have more secure and reliable backups with tapes. Your cheap IDE HDs on your LAN are a good reason to let you down at some time, good HDDs often do, so moreso with cheap HDs. Good Tape Drives may not be cheap nor their media but I am using these AIT1 and AIT2 drives for several years without any hitch at all, so on the long run they work out rather cheap considering the stressless use and reliability they provide. As for installation, I have my Drives take off from a Floppy (Internal or USB) with a firewire aspi1394.sys driver and this is all I need to use my drives on any PC.
Depending on the backup size, I personally can restore a 27GB Disk Image data back onto my 200GB Seagate drive in 35 to 45 minutes (Just enough time to take a good shower before it gets done) with no flaws whatsoever. And finally, in the case of theft, (Even Fort Knox is something of the past nowadays) access to your precious data on a HDD is quite easy to retrieve but not quite so on tapes. This is well worth considering.
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