IBM achieves tape storage record

Experts at IBM Research in Rüschlikon have worked with Sony Storage to achieve a new record for the storage density of magnetic tape. The new capacity facilitates 20 times’ higher storage in magnetic tape systems.

IBM scientist Mark Lantz holds a piece of magnetic tape.
Researchers at IBM in Rüschlikon and Sony Storage have achieved a storage density of 201 gigabits per square inch in magnetic tape. (image credit: IBM Research)

Researchers at IBM in Rüschlikon and Sony Storage have achieved a storage density of 201 gigabits per square inch (around 6.45 square centimetres) in magnetic tape. It enables the potential to record up to 330 terabytes of data on a palm-sized cartridge.   

IBM explained in a statement that the capacity is around 20 times higher than that of existing tape drives. 330 terabytes of data equates to the text of 330 million books, according to the statement.  

Magnetic tape data storage has traditionally been used for video archives and replicas for disaster recovery. However, IBM believes that there is new viability for the storage technology. As an example, it cites the “cold storage” of used cloud data.

Although the new technology will cost more to manufacture than current commercial tape, according to IBM, it will provide more terabytes per dollar thanks to its high capacity.  

IBM Research in Rüschlikon was founded in 1956 as the company’s first laboratory outside the USA. Its research activities range from nanotechnology to the development of future generations of computer systems and storage technology, as well as cloud computing, the protection of data and privacy, supercomputing, simulation, big data analytics and cognitive computing.  

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