Tape will never be the whole answer to storing data, according to Dr Eleftheriou. But it forms a crucial part of a “storage hierarchy”. At the top of this are so-called hot data, those that need to be available for immediate access. These are best held in flash memory. Lukewarm data—those that people need to access frequently, but not instantaneously—are best stored on disks. Cold data, the stuff in long-term storage, can be recorded on tape. This cold store is by far the biggest repository. A report published in 2008 by Andrew Leung of the University of California, Santa Cruz, found that in general, 90% of an organisation’s data becomes cold after a couple of months.