Should my tapes be "slotted" in the vault or stored in "closed containers"?
When moving tapes back and forth between your data center and the offsite vault, the tapes can be managed and tracked in one of two ways. They can be tracked at the individual tape level and "slotted" on shelves once they arrive at the vault. Or they can be placed into "closed containers," in which case the tapes remain inside of the containers while they are offsite.
With a slotted account, you pay based on the number of tapes being stored and handled. With a closed container account, costs are based on the number of containers stored and handled.
Overall, your tape storage costs will be roughly the same whether you slot or use closed containers - slotted accounts tend to have somewhat lower storage charges, but also somewhat higher handling charges.
Pros and cons
Slotting results in better chain-of-custody since your vendor will scan the barcode of each tape every time it moves. Slotting also allows you to retrieve individual tapes if necessary, whereas with closed containers you can only retrieve entire containers.
Closed container rotations, on the other hand, are somewhat easier to set up since rotation schedules only need to be created and maintained for one item (the container) instead of many (the tapes).
Tapes that are sent to the vault for long-term archival storage rather than as part of a rotation schedule should almost always be slotted, since storage costs will be lower and there is no need to purchase closed containers upfront.