A high-density magnetic tape cartridge with a record capacity of up to 580 TB was developed by IBM and Fujifilm for storage purposes in large “data centers”.
As mentioned in an IBM post, this prototype provides 27 times more area density than today’s tape drives. It is noted that today there are more than 500 hyperscale “data centers” in the world, which store 547exabytes (EB) of “actual data”, and another 151 are coming.
One technology that can handle huge data growths while protecting against cyber attacks is over 60 years old; the magnetic tape.
IBM is talking about a new milestone, the fruit of 15 years of work, and the sixth record in such storage since 2006. As noted, 317 GB / in2 (gigabits per square inch) of area density was achieved on a prototype strontium ferrite (SrFe) magnetic tape developed by Fujifilm. This is about 27 times the area density used in today’s advanced tape drives.
In terms of storage capabilities, a single tape cartridge of this type has the ability to store about 580 TB of data; which corresponds to 786,977 CDs on top of each other, at a height of 944 meters!
Although tape has been a technology for over 60 years, it is improving over time: Its current generation uses barium ferrite (BaFe) particles to overlay magnetic tape storage media, but to go even further on a density scale, Fujifilm developed SrFe (strontium ferrite), which can be formed into smaller particles with “superior properties”; that is, a higher storage density in the same amount of tape.
A number of new technologies have also been developed to achieve this record, including a new low-friction “head” technology, and a “locator” that allows very reliable data detection.
In this context, as highlighted in the IBM post, digital magnetic tape —a storage medium invented in 1952, with an initial capacity of about 2 MB per spool— continues to be an ideal technology not only for storing large volumes of “backup” data and files, but also for new applications, such as hybrid “cloud” environments.
There are also many advantages to cybersecurity, as it is possible to “naturally” disconnect from electronic connections; an impenetrable barrier against even the most sophisticated attacks.
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