Published: Thu, August 03, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

IBM, Sony Reveal Magnetic Tape Data Storage Breakthrough

IBM, Sony Reveal Magnetic Tape Data Storage Breakthrough

IBM Research Exploratory Tape Scientist Mark Lantz (pictured above) explained that the company has demonstrated the ability to record at an areal density of 201 gigabits per square inch (Gb/in2) on magnetic tape.

In its release about the magnetic tape cartridge, Sony said that this achievement was made possible by bringing together it's "new magnetic tape technology employing lubricant with IBM Research - Zurich's newly developed write/read heads, advanced servo control technologies and innovative signal-processing algorithm".

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.

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Magnetic tapes started being used as a mode of storage nearly 60 years ago with IBM's first such tape storing just 2MB of data and this 330TB capsule made from a prototype sputtered magnetic tape developed by Sony is the fifth time IBM has defied the storage gods. This is over 20 times more data density than is offered by any current commercial data storage tape.

But it begs the question - how did the researchers manage to add so much data to a piece of tape that you would see in a Sony's Walkman? Specifically, IBM is looking to expand magnetic tape use to applications in the cloud. Accuracy and precision have to be improved as the magnetic particles holding the data get smaller and smaller. READ NEXT:Seagate unveils giant 60TB SSD, the largest ever created Sputter deposition results in a strip of tape with magnetised areas less than ten nanometres wide. Sony has also improved the tape's lubricant layer so it runs more smoothly through the machine and faces less resistance. The record is unlikely to stand for very long, as IBM says "storage on tapes will continue to scale up for another decade". The company squeezed about 330TB into a package that fits into the palm of your hand. Recent developments in the growing Internet of Things sector along with the popularization of cloud services have resulted in increased demand for high capacity data storage media.

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