News Worms
News Worms


IBM scientists capture record-breaking 330TB of uncompressed data in tiny cartridge

IBM scientists capture record-breaking 330TB of uncompressed data in tiny cartridge

Scientists at IBM and Sony have developed a new cartridge that stores 330 terabytes of data into a device the size of a human hand, setting a new world record.

Tape drives, which were invented some six decades ago, are generally used for video archives, backup files, and cold storage purposes. Areal recording density is the amount of information that can be stored on a given area of surface. IBM Research Exploratory Tape Scientist Mark Lantz (pictured above) explained that the company has demonstrated the ability to record at an areal density of 201 gigabits per square inch (Gb/in2) on magnetic tape. The resulting technology can support high-capacity storage of approximately 330 terabytes (TB) per data cartridge, whereas conventional technology can only handle 15 TB per data cartridge.

This is the IBM's fifth world record in tape storage since 2006, when the company's researchers first packed 6.67 billion bits of data per square inch onto a test tape. Having a tape jam on your cassette player can result in a few seconds of garbled music, but when you're storing data a mechanical mishap like that can be catastrophic.

That said, existing hardware will not be compatible with this new technology, and the technology is only available in research and development labs of IBM and Sony, and it will likely take a few years before it is commercially available.

IBM and Sony's breakthrough involves the use of "sputter deposition", a method of adding layers to a material that has been used for years to make hard drives but hasn't been added to tape before.

In creating the new tape-based storage, IBM used its reading and writing technology with Sony's latest tape. It is against this background that magnetic tape shows great potential as a storage media thanks to its various strengths, including its capacity for storing data over long periods of time, low power consumption, low cost, and space saving capabilities.

The new development manifests the potential of doubling tape storage capacity nearly every two years and assuring that tape won't go out fashion for the decade, according to Dr. Mark Lantz of IBM Research.

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