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IBM’s New Magnetic Tape Sets a World Record for Capacity

The explosion of big data in the 21st century has left many – including consumers and enterprises alike – scrambling to find a storage medium that will accommodate all of this information. According to the latest studies, humans are generating a whopping 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day – and this number is constantly on the rise.

It should come as no surprise that some of IT’s top brands, including IBM, are getting in on the action. And they’re doing so by utilizing one of the oldest and most traditional forms of data storage available: magnetic tape.

A New World Record

The team with IBM even set a new world record regarding data storage; a feat that they’ve actually accomplished four times prior. In a recent collaboration with Sony Storage Media Solutions, IBM Research developed a magnetic tape boasting 330 TB of uncompress data storage. To put this in perspective, that’s the equivalent of roughly 330 million college textbooks.

IBM fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou explained how magnetic storage is still relevant in today’s cloud-based landscape. He was quoted as saying: “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. 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.”

The Need for Brand New Technology

Setting a new record for tape capacity is no easy task. In order to accommodate 330 TB of data storage, IBM and Sony had to develop a medium that could support 201 gigabits of data per square inch. The team pioneered several new innovations, including advanced roll-to-roll formatting and improved lubrication. Both of these breakthroughs serve to stabilize the magnetic tape itself and they were both necessary to achieve the industry’s highest recording areal density on the market to date.

Eleftheriou continued his previous statement by saying: “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.”

Preparing for the Future of Big Data

Although big data has already played a huge part in the 21st century, its significance is expected to increase as even more consumers and enterprises realize its importance. Companies like IBM and Sony are certainly ahead of the curve when it comes to accommodate such large data sets, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before we can finally start to rein in all of this information in a consistent and long-term manner.

For more information on IBM, including details on any of their recent projects, please visit their official website at {{https://www.ibm.com/us-en/|www.ibm.com}}. To find out more about Sony Storage Media Solutions, head over to their official site at {{https://www.sony.com/|www.sony.com}}.

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