IBM breathes life into magnetic tape with storage breakthrough

03 August, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • IBM's cartridge can store 330TB data

Yet tape storage is still a very cost-effective way to store rarely accessed data, and a new breakthrough from IBM that dramatically increases the capacity of tape storage might make for lower cloud storage costs if it catches on in mass production. These physical drives are twice in size but have the capacity of holding half the data when compared with contemporary Sony tape cartridge.

In partnership with Sony Storage Media Solutions, IBM has broken its previous record for the world's densest tape drive, announcing a product capable of storing 330 terabytes of uncompressed data.

IBM & Sony create tape catridge that stores 330TB data. In the paper recently published in IEEE Transactions on Magnetics explained, the team at Sony developed a new kind of magnetic layer that is applied to the tape using a specialized technique called sputter deposition, which uses vapor instead of a liquid to lay down tiny magnetic particles that are just a few nanometers in size.

The tape storage is now the most secure, energy efficient and cost effectivesolution for storing large amounts of archive data as well as applications such as Big Data and cloud computing, according to IBM.

Sony also developed a new lubricant layer which ensures the tape runs through the machinery used to read and write data as smoothly as possible, reducing friction and wear and tear, and extending the life of the storage medium. This is 20 times more than the aerial density of commercially available tapes.

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The two organizations worked closely for years and had to develop several new technologies to reach this level of areal density.

While the manufacture of sputtered tape can cost more than current commercial tape drives, Eleftheriou says its high capacity makes the price per terabyte very "attractive".

In a statement to The Verge, IBM fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou said: "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".

Sony Storage Media Solutions indicated the viability of continuing to scale up storage on tapes for another decade.

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