To meet today’s business requirements, server and component prices have steadily declined over the years, while server performance and disk storage capacity have increased. Conversely, the cost for tape storage devices has actually increased as their capacity and performance capabilities have increased. In addition, conventional tape technology suffers from a reputation of less-than-perfect reliability in restoration of data written to tape. While the criticality of tape backup continues to be recognized by the IT industry, new solutions have been needed to provide advances commensurate with the data reliability and cost value requirements of the industry. Tape devices must be able to deliver higher data reliability, speed, and capacity at a lower cost. This premise was the motivating factor for the developers of VXA Packet Technology to create a new tape technology from a clean sheet of paper. What they developed was a revolutionary tape technology that breaks free of the cost and reliability limitations of conventional tape devices. This paper discusses these limitations and how they restrict conventional tape drives not only from achieving the desired cost per gigabyte value, but also from providing the reliability and performance necessary to compete. This paper also introduces the breakthrough VXA Packet Technology and describes how it sets a new standard in mid-sized tape including capacity, data reliability, and speed. Until the introduction of VXA Packet Technology, the fundamental architecture and format of present-day tape drives had not changed in over 20 years.