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Sony and IBM join hands to develop tiny tape cartridge with 330TB storage capacity

The technology was something that IBM Research and Sony Storage Solutions had been working on for years.

In what is a groundbreaking achievement in the world of technology, a research team comprising of scientists from IBM Research and Sony Storage Solutions have managed to develop a tiny storage device that has the capacity to store a colossal 330TB of uncompressed data. The device is in fact, a prototype magnetic tape drive that is small enough to fit in your hand, and is the product of years of collaborative work between the two companies, aimed at achieving increased areal recording densities.

If that’s not all, the tapes actually have an incredible recording density of 201Gb per inch. Evangelos Eleftheriou, a member of the IBM Research team working on the tapes stated that until recently, tape drives were typically used for video archives, back-up files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information on premise, but nowadays, the industry has also started expanding their usecases, such as for off-premise cloud applications.

He further stated that in spite of the slightly higher manufacturing costs of sputtered tape, the high capacity storage potential makes up for it, with the cost per terabyte going down, and the tapes being ideal for cold storage in the cloud.

Sony, while announcing the launch of the magnetic tape cartridge, added that the development of the tapes was possible only because of the coming together of IBM Research – Zurich’s latest write/read heads, advanced servo control technologies and innovative signal-processing algorithm, and Sony’s new lubricant employing magnetic tape technology. It also stressed the importance of bridging the gap between magnetic tape and magnetic head, in order to develop tape storage media with high-density recording capabilities. IBM supported Sony’s statement, citing the development of the device as an indication of the massive potential of storage capacities of tape drives being steadily expandable at least for another decade.

Photograph: IBM Research 

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