IBM and FujiFilm announced on Monday that their researchers have broken the world record in the amount of data that can be stored per square inch on Linear Tape-Open (LTO) cartridge. IBM’s demonstrations showed that FujiFilm’s “double-coated” tape could store 85.9 billion bits per square inch on areal data density on linear magnetic particulate tape. With this density, a standard tape cartridge could store 154 terabytes of uncompressed data, which would be 62 times better than existing cartridges. The news of IBM and Fujifilm’s achievement comes out of IBM’s Edge conference in Las Vegas.

“Today, most storage technologies like HDD [hard-disk drive], flash, and DRAM [dynamic random access memory] are facing or will very soon face very difficult challenges to continue scaling,” said Mark Lantz, a research scientist and manager of exploratory tape at IBM Research. “In contrast, our demonstration shows that tape can continue scaling at the current rate of doubling cartridge capacity every two years for at least the next 10 years.” 

IBM’s research is a pertinent example of how older technologies can be revived and used to solve the problems companies are facing today around data storage; it is becoming a growing problem for companies to store large amounts of data that can be retrieved inexpensively and without power. The storage on tape, although experimental, is a promising prospect as tape can last for decades and does not require power when not in use.

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(Image Credit: Scott Schiller)


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