IBM gets 201 gigbits per square inch on a tape drive

obeygiant

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Jan 14, 2002
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totally cool


IBM scientists have captured 330TB of uncompressed data into a tiny cartridge

In a new world record, scientists at IBM have captured 330 terabytes of uncompressed data — or the equivalent of 330 million books — into a cartridge that can fit into the palm of your hand. The record of 201 gigabits per square inch on prototype sputtered magnetic tape is more than 20 times the areal density currently used in commercial tape drives. Areal recording density is the amount of information that can be stored on a given area of surface.

Tape drives were invented over 60 years ago and were traditionally used for archiving tax documents and health care records. IBM’s first tape unit used reels of half-inch-wide tape that could only hold about 2 megabytes.

“Tape has traditionally been used for video archives, back-up files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information on premise, but the industry is also expanding to off-premise applications in the cloud,” said IBM fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou in a statement. “While sputtered tape is expected to cost a little more to manufacture than current commercial tape, the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per terabyte very attractive, making this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud.”
 

velocityg4

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Dec 19, 2004
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It's too bad tape drives are so expensive now. They used to be a cheap method for backups. Especially if you made multiple rotating backups.

They would be perfect for my backup needs. Unfortunately they make no sense financially.
 
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ddmcnair

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Apr 25, 2011
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IBM, tape drives, who cares? Even a NAS back is faster than tape, and with an SSD and no moving parts, what's the point of tape? This is just like saying OS/2 is still alive and it's called Blue Lion, who cares?
 
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ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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IBM, tape drives, who cares? Even a NAS back is faster than tape, and with an SSD and no moving parts, what's the point of tape? This is just like saying OS/2 is still alive and it's called Blue Lion, who cares?
NAS is for hot storage (data that needs to be accessed immediately). Tape is for cold storage (data that doesn't need to be accessed immediately).

Cost is more important than speed for data that is expected to rarely, if ever, be accessed (cold storage). Cloud providers often have two different plans, a costlier one for hot storage and a cheaper one for cold storage.

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/whats-the-diff-hot-and-cold-data-storage/

I'm also starting to see hybrid plans where the data is kept on hard drives (like hot storage), but not online (like cold storage). If you need to access this data there will be a delay while physically getting the hard drive to an online interface, but once it is online it is fast and supports normal access and processing, unlike a tape.
 
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rodpascoe

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Jun 19, 2006
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IBM, tape drives, who cares? Even a NAS back is faster than tape, and with an SSD and no moving parts, what's the point of tape? This is just like saying OS/2 is still alive and it's called Blue Lion, who cares?
Millions of people/companies that still use tape care. It still has a place/use and is vastly cheaper than the SSD you talk about. Some companies produce tens of gigabytes of data a day that needs long term storage, suggesting they store it on SSD is absurd.
 
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JamesPDX

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Aug 26, 2014
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So, I've always wondered what tape formula they used (equivalent 250, 456, 900, GP9, etc.) and if they were able to monkey around with the bias to get this much utility, rather than an "ultra-linear" calibration.
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Impressive. The article doesn't mention write speed (unless I miss it).
Looks like 10m/sec for the IBM/Sony sputtered stuff. I'll bet that they're using carbon nanotube some-such as the lube-layer. IDK if it's mylar substrate or if you could use Kevlar. Neato stuff, though. Maybe the DAT-type cartridge case will rise again. That was a great design.
 
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