IBM Research claims to have set the world's record in storage density on magnetic tape, 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch on low cost, particulate magnetic tape made especially for the project by FujiFilm. This will allow today 6-Gbyte cartridges to up their capacity to a 220 terabyte when the technology is commercialized.
“This ensures that we can continue scaling — doubling capacity every two years — for at least the next 10 years. Also, because of the explosion in the rate at which data is being created, there is a huge demand for cost-effective storage solutions both on premises and in the cloud. And because tape has the lowest total cost of ownership, that's creating all kinds of new applications for tape,” Mark Lantz, manager of exploratory tape, IBM Research told EE Times.
At just 2-to-3 pennies per Gbyte, even Google is on board with a vast installation of IBM tape drives — adding to the 500 exabytes of data stored on tape worldwide — mostly for seldom needed data such as archived files and backup. Also the major film studios are converting to data tape drives, because they preserve the exact digital representation of a movie, plus can fit many more movies onto data tapes than traditional video tapes.
The only downside is that it takes 5-to-7 years for lab demonstrations of tape capacity to make their way to commercial products, unlike 3-to-5 years for other memory storage technologies. Nevertheless, the demonstration shows that tape is not running out of gas — still increasing with Moore's Law — unlike DRAM, SRAM, flash and the optical storage technologies like PCM.
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