Researchers Set Record 330 Terabytes of Uncompressed Data of Tape Storage

tape storage

03 August 2017 |Brooks Hays  | UPI

Aug. 3 (UPI) — Researchers have set a new world record for magnetic tape storage. The team of IBM scientists achieved an areal density of 201 gigabits per square inch using a prototype sputtered magnetic tape designed and produced by Sony Storage Media Solutions.

The new record was presented Wednesday at the 28th Magnetic Recording Conference, held this week in Tsukuba, Japan.

Despite the myriad technological innovation in computer electronics, magnetic tape remains one of the most secure and efficient ways to store large amounts of data. The medium is mostly used for archival and backup storage, as the slower reading and writing process can make data retrieval too cumbersome for daily computation.

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The new density record allowed researchers to store 330 terabytes of uncompressed data on a single tape cartridge. The prototype tape boasts a storage density potential 20 times greater than current state-of-the-art magnetic tape.

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

The new record was made possible by a number of technological breakthroughs achieved by scientists at both Sony and IBM, including low friction tape head technology, which enabled the use of much smoother tape.

Both IBM and Sony have been making magnetic tape for more than 60 years.

“The areal density demonstration announced today represents a potential increase in capacity of 165,000,000 times compared with IBM’s first tape drive product,” IBM wrote in a news release. “This announcement reaffirms IBM’s ongoing commitment and leadership in magnetic tape technology.”


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