Computer Electronics

IBM Sets New Record for Magnetic Tape Storage

03 August 2017

Imagine storing the content of 330 million books in a magnetic tape that fits in the palm of your hands. This is what IBM presented on August 2 at the 28th Magnetic Recording Conference in Tsukuba, Japan.

This new record (the fifth in a row for IBM, since 2006) was achieved in collaboration with Sony Storage Media Solutions, with whom IBM has been working for several years to increase areal recording densities. The prototype developed by the two companies achieved a storage density of 201 Gb/in2 (gigabits per inch square.) This is 20 times the areal density of current state of the art magnetic tapes, and it has the potential to store 330 terabytes (TB) of uncompressed data on a single tape cartridge. Tape storage has been experiencing a renaissance. This IBM achievement clearly indicates that tape is ready for cloud computing and the Internet of Thing (IoT).

“Tape has traditionally been used for video archives, backup files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information on premise, but the industry is also expanding to off-premise applications in the cloud,” said IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou. “While sputtered tape is expected to cost a little more to manufacture than current commercial tape that uses Barium Ferrite (BaFe), the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per TB very attractive, making this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud.”

The research efforts were published today in the IEEE Xplore digital library. Click here for an abstract.

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