Imation Introduces New High-Capacity Magnetic Tape

Imation has become the first company to break the 1TB barrier in magnetic tape storage with a new LTO Ultrium Generation 5 tape cartridge capable of storing 1.5TB of uncompressed data or up to 3TB if compressed. Imation has been at the forefront of tape storage research for about a decade; the US National Institute of Standards and Technology gave the company $11.9 million back in 2002 to drive data capacity.

"Imation is pleased to be one of the first to provide customers the advantages of next-generation LTO 5 tape cartridges. Magnetic tape remains the most cost-efficient way for businesses to address storage and compliance requirements, whether for long-term data archive or regular backup of active data, given tape’s energy savings and cost-per-gigabyte advantages over other methods," said Subodh Kulkarni, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Imation’s global commercial business.

I'd really hate to see the Walkman.

We know what you're thinking. Tape, after all, isn't sexy or fun and the idea of storing data on it comes off as antiquated. It's a relic from old sci-fi and the film projector lessons we all had to sit through in science class. That collective perception is false; tape storage plays an important role in modern backup solutions.

There are several advantages of tape that hard drives can't match. Unlike hard drives, tapes can be pulled out of a system and stacked on a shelf or transferred off-site to a secure location. Since they don't need to be kept spinning in order to preserve data, they end up drawing much less power over time than even the greenest HDD. Hard drives are typically touted as cheaper than magnetic tape, but the cost difference here is smaller than you think once you figure in the need to preserve data via RAID array.

In short, the stuff works and it fills a unique niche in the market that neither HDDs nor SSDs can match. Plus, watching the giant reels spin around was always kind of cool.
Via:  Imation
bbdl 4 years ago

Wow I did not even know anyone still used this. I had figured at the least the technology closest to this was tape backups. I guess it makes a point though, a Microfiche slide is basically printable and as good as paper work is from a legal standpoint. As it stands the energy savings seem to be sufficient, and it is basically just archived photo's on film for direct retrieval and printing.

m-manla 4 years ago

Some companies still uses tape believe it or not.

gibbersome 4 years ago

It's highly energy efficient, stable way to store media. Magnetic disks wear out after a while and need to be turned on to be accessible. Only government agencies and certain institutions would need this.

m-manla 4 years ago

But if hard drive have carriers, you can store those to and carry them. Also lets not forget all of the external drives. I also find it hard to believe that it will be faster than a hard drive considering that tape is linear and hard drives are not.

inspector 4 years ago

I actually never heard of this :). Are these those rolls that store movies/videos?

Zestia 4 years ago

I remember the old Imation backup tapes from over a decade ago (I think we have a few in a box somewhere in the office), I just didn't realize that they were still in business, let alone pioneering technology and breaking capacity records.

animatortom 4 years ago

This is totally understandable, since now Imation has replaced/surpassed Verbatim as the leading Media creator.

Imation is my disc of choice now. I was skeptical at first. But my DVD-ram discs have never had a problem. They are still chugging away on my DVD recorder. Maxell and the others start failing after a few months. When it comes to Verbatim, if you get a fifty pack. You would be lucky if more that 85% of them even work the first time.

1TB does not seem like much. You would figure they would be up towards something like 50TB's by now. Then again we were supposed to be walking on Mars by now as well. Besides these tape drives always look cool in the background. Sci-Fi always looks cooler if you have big spinney, flashy things in the background.

realneil 4 years ago

Sorry, I still cringe when someone mentions tape drives. I spent hours upon frustrating hours screwing around with them for years and years and was glad to see them fade away into the sunset. They are evil things and should be recycled into huge piles at the bottom of the sea for Coral to grow on. I feel the same about PC tape Backup solutions too. Colorado my eye!!

The tape cartridge you have pictured is identical to the ones we used on the Space Shuttle Program early on. The readers were in a room with huge air conditioners routed under the floors pumping cold air into the room to keep them and the giant computers from overheating. Your clothes had to be such that they wouldn't produce static energy, so they made us wear thin nylon "Bunny Suits" that we froze our butts off in.

We were not allowed to have facial hair and had to pin our hair back and wear wrap around hats to keep it put away. It really was a drag, but they paid us excellent money to do the job.

I became an expert at splicing tape early on at that job.

digitaldd 4 years ago

Constantly accessed data gets backed up to disks which are online. Stuff that needs to be retained for compliance purposes [PCI, HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, etc]  should be backed up to tape for off-line retrieval in an emergency. Also anything that doesn't need to be restore immediately but still needs to be saved is good to backup to tape.

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