Storing data on magnetic tape is back, baby. Sony has announced that thanks to a partnership with IBM Research in Zurich, the pair have developed a magnetic tape cartridge capable of storing 201 gigabytes of data per square inch for a total of 330 terabytes per cartridge. Previously, IBM’s analog storage maxed out at 123 gigabytes per square inch.
The trick here is that IBM and Sony are using sputtered media made up of several layers of nano particles to extend tape length. IMB says this technique uses a process similar to printing integrated circuits. What’s more, 330TB of data storage isn’t the maximum storage limit.
In the video below, IBM Research’s Dr. Mark Lantz says that tape storage could reach even higher capacities in the future. The last time IBM announced it’d made advancements in the space was in 2015. At the time, cartridge capacity was 220 terabytes and 123 gigabytes per square inch. When the research started in 2006, density was a paltry 6.67GB per square inch with total cartridge capacity of 8TB.
What’s here is “an archival tier for cold data, which is not frequently accessed,” according to Lantz. Specifically, this would be a boon for cloud storage companies.
Lantz says we’ll be seeing these types of increases for awhile, and will double cartridge capacity every two years for at least ten years. That should be enough to keep your selfies backed up to your favorite non-local storage provider for awhile.
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