IBM And FUJIFILM Create 35TB Magnetic Tape Storage Device

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News Posted: Sun, Jan 24 2010 12:45 PM
In today's computing world, there are just a few things that come tomind when you mention "storage." Flash drives, hard drives, solid statedrives and maybe even cloud storage. But that's about the extent of it.Hardly anyone thinks about or recognizes magnetic tape storage anymore, but it's obviously still around and kicking thanks to innovationsby IBM and FUJIFILM.

Both of those companies have come together to produce one of thelargest tape drives to date, which is designed to archive importantinformation in scenarios where only massive, massive drives would work.In fact, the new development has set a world record in areal datadensity on linear magnetic tap. Magnetic tape isn't widely used in theconsumer arena, but it remains a resilient, reliable and affordabledata storage technology in the enterprise world. The new tape holds anastounding 35TB (terabytes) of data, which is far, far greater thaneven the largest hard drive. To put this in perspective, the biggestHDD consumers can easily buy at Best Buy is 2TB. This is nearly 18xbigger in terms of capacity!


The scientists at IBM Research - Zurich, in cooperation with theFUJIFILM Corporation of Japan, recorded data onto an advanced prototypetape, at a density of 29.5 billion bits per square inch - about 39times the areal data density of today's most popular industry-standardmagnetic tape product*. To achieve this feat, IBM Research hasdeveloped several new critical technologies, and for the past threeyears worked closely with FUJIFILM to optimize its next-generationdual-coat magnetic tape based on barium ferrite (BaFe) particles. 

"This exciting achievement shows that tape storage is alive andstrong and will continue to provide users reliable data protection,while maintaining a cost advantage over other storage technologies,including hard disk drives and flash," said Cindy Grossman, vicepresident, IBM Tape and Archive Storage Systems. 

These new technologies are estimated to enable cartridge capacitiesthat could hold up to 35 trillion bytes (terabytes) of uncompresseddata. This is about 44 times the capacity of today's IBM LTOGeneration 4 cartridge. A capacity of 35 terabytes of data issufficient to store the text of 35 million books, which would require248 miles (399 km) of bookshelves.

No pricing information is disclosed to the public, but it's not likeyou really need to know. Check out the video below for a more in-depthlook at a storage technology that has been around forever yet is stillbreaking records.


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Soupstyle replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 7:00 PM

Impressive storage space. I know that a lot of companies still use tape for device backup.

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Wow, I actually didn't know that tape storage media was still being used. I can understand the power and space benefits to having tape drives, but quickly would you be able to access the data?  

I can see that magnetic tapes are less prone to mechanical failure and data loss, but what about the longer access time?

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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 2:20 PM

I want to benchmark it versus this OCZ Vertex Pro SSD I'm testing right now. :)

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Bighorse replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 3:41 PM

The company I work for uses magnetic tapes for our backups, also we handle a few clients backups and they are also magnetic tapes. A 32tb tape would reduce many companies down to 1 tape per backup. Its awesome that innovation still happens to dated hardware(aslong as the price isn't to premium). Speaking of innovations and hardware, anyone hear anymore about Intel's lightpeak cable?

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@Dave_HH haha, that would make for an interesting article...speed vs reliability, reminds me of the turtle and rabbit fable.

@BigHorse Indeed, that's one of the reasons why they keep referring to the technology as "green" in the video. 1 disk can now replace 5-6 of them. The other benefit of tape storage is that the tapes don't always need to be powered and turned on, and they're easier to insert into reading media than magnetic disks.

If Paul Otellini (Intel's CEO) is taken at his word, with Light Peak we'll be able to download a Blu-Ray movie in less than "30 seconds." Yeah, that translates to roughly 1GB/sec. However, given the amount of processing and bandwidth power currently available, no consumer computer will be able to fully use this technology right now.

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Soupstyle replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 11:08 PM

LoL dave.

Gibber, Companies use them mostly for backups only and usually the backups only happen at night when no one is around and speed doesn't matter, or are a backup of backups where after a day ~ 3 then the backups get written to tape to clear space on the normal backup hard drives (since usually no one is accessing the backups unless something bad happened to a workstation).

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 12:59 AM

I have worked with a lot of tape drives through the years. They are generally used for very large scale and long term stored backup. You have to admit a tri tape drive on a SCSI platform or SATA would most likely not be used for speed, tape drives are also used for Microfiche data storage (Medical testing, Property deeds, taxes, permanent record storage etc). It is also still rather widely used although much less than it was. When a DVD can hold a very large amount of data, store it faster, and with faster access. However; for this amount an 18GB (figurative) DVD media would take 300 to store 36TB of data. How fast would that be searchable unless on a massive auto play library, and even then.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 1:45 AM

Yeah Bighorse that would take way more of any other backup media as well. I have heard some about the Lightpeak stuff, but am really unsure how it in any way is really all that different much less betterthan things that are already here or on there way shortly.

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realneil replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 12:11 PM

What would a LightPeak connection do to the performance factor of Solid State Hard Drives? Gee golly, what kind of seek and write times would result?

How would a LightPeak connection between your video card and motherboard help out Video Performance?

And how about a connection between your computer and Monitor?

LightPeak is just a ultra-high speed optical connection pathway between devices and it could be adapted to work with a multitude of devices.

It's all only an Idea away folks.

Gawd, I wonder what's in store for us in the next ten years!,..................

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