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April 10, 2015

Big Blue sets new record for tape storage

IBM researchers squeeze 220TB data into palm size tape.

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM researchers have achieved a world first by demonstrating an areal recording density of 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch on low cost, particulate magnetic tape developed in collaboration with FUJIFILM.

According to the researchers, the computer tape can fit into human palm and store 220 terabytes of data.

The data is equivalent to 1.37 trillion mobile text or 220 million books.

IBM highlighted that the computer tape technology is ideal for storing huge amounts of back-up and archival data, and can be used for new age applications like Big Data and cloud computing.

It also said that the demonstration shows an 88-fold improvement over an LTO6 cartridge, which is the current industry-standard for magnetic tape product.

Previously, magnetic particulate tapes were used for video archives and back up of files, but now the technology is being adopted for off-premise applications in the cloud due to its inexpensive nature, which will cost companies few pennies per gigabyte.

IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou said, "With this demonstration, we prove again that tape will continue to play an important role in the storage hierarchy for years to come."

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IBM researchers are trying to integrate the tape technology with OpenStack Swift, which is expected to allow users to easily transfer cold data to a low-cost, highly durable cloud based storage tier for back-up or archival use cases.

Switzerland based university ETH Zurich is using IBM tape technology for central data back-up and restore services.

ETH Zurich deputy head of ITS System Services Dr. Tilo Steiger said: "The average data transfer rate to tape has increased steeply over the years to approximately 60 terabytes daily and our tape library has reached more than 5.5 petabytes.

"Despite advances in overall storage technology, tape is still a promising media for large amounts of data for its transferability of data in Linear Tape File System applications and its low energy consumption."

IBM has been working with Japanese company FUJIFILM since 2002 on the optimisation of its dual-coat magnetic tape based on barium ferrite (BaFe) particles.

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