IBM and Sony Develop Cartridge Capable of 330 TB of Data Storage

By: Kelley Katsanos| - Leave a comment

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IBM and Sony have developed a new magnetic tape cartridge that has the makings to revolutionize data storage even in the cloud. The cartridge is the smallest of its kind and can fit into the palm of a person’s hand. Moreover, it’s capable of storing a record-breaking 330 terabytes of uncompressed data — more storage than the world’s largest hard drives, Futurism notes.

Tape Drive Progress

Even though tape drives have existed for decades, the new technology is now able to achieve much more data storage than ever before. This is remarkable because IBM’s first tape, announced over 60 years ago, was only able to store about 2 megabytes of data by using reels of half-inch-wide tape.

Over the past several years, IBM and Sony have been working together to develop several new technologies — such as advanced nanotech and new signal processing algorithms — to increase areal recording densities of magnetic tape. In fact, the research enabled a record areal surface of 201 gigabits per square inch on prototype sputtered magnetic tape — 20 times the areal density presently used in commercial tape drives.

“The results of this collaboration have led to various improvements in the media technology, such as advanced roll-to-roll technology for long sputtered tape fabrication and better lubricant technology, which stabilizes the functionality of the magnetic tape,” IBM fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou notes in the IBM press release.

IBM plans to expand magnetic tape beyond conventional purposes by using the device for cloud applications.

“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,” Eleftheriou said.

And although the manufacturing cost of sputtered tape will be a bit more than current commercial tape, Eleftheriou believes that “the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per terabyte very attractive, making this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud.”

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About The Author

Kelley Katsanos

News Writer

Kelley Katsanos is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She has previously worked in business roles involving marketing analysis and competitive intelligence. Her freelance work appears at IBM Midsize Insider, Houston Chronicle's chron.com, and AZ Central Small Business. Katsanos earned a Master of Science in Information Management from Arizona State University as well as a bachelor's degree in Business with an emphasis in marketing. Her interests include information security, marketing strategy, and business process improvement.