Throwback Thursday: Sony's 185TB Cassette Tape Could Store 47 Million 80s Tracks And A Flock Of Seagulls

rated by 0 users
This post has 6 Replies | 0 Followers

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 26,737
Points 1,209,570
Joined: Sep 2007
News Posted: Thu, May 8 2014 5:33 PM

Earlier this week, when I talked about SanDisk's mind-blowing 4TB enterprise solid-state drive, I remarked that such storage densities still impress me, SSD or not. This is especially the case when I look back five years or more - the progression has been unbelievable. Perhaps more unbelievable though is Sony's latest magnetic storage technology, which could allow a storage device close to the size of a standard cassette to store up to 185TB.

Yes, I said cassette. This is quite a feat for such an 80s technology.

As the title of this post suggests, 185TB is enough to house 47,000,000 music files. Further, it's also enough to store 3,700 full-size 50GB Blu-ray discs, and over 19,000,000 10MB photos. And yes, since we're all clearly thinking it, it could also hold a lot of adult material.

Thanks to Sony's advances, this latest technology is able to store 72x as much data per square inch - so much, it puts current mechanical storage to shame. The main reason Sony's been able to make this happen is by allowing the crystals sputtered out by the deposition process to lay far more uniformly, and with less variation in size.

While this kind of storage sounds amazing as a home user, these tapes are definitely not bound for us. Instead, they're targeted at the enterprise and government, where storage density and security is far more important than performance. Even so, this kind of capability is hard to not drool over. Sony hasn't announced a launch date yet, as it still needs to refine things.

You might recall that just earlier this year, Sony and Panasonic jointly announced Archival Disc, an optical format that could result in 300GB+-sized discs. Like this tape storage, Archival Disc isn't being targetted at regular consumers either. Bummer.

  • | Post Points: 50
Not Ranked
Posts 17
Points 145
Joined: Dec 2013

They should bring back MiniDisc

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 135
Points 1,240
Joined: Apr 2014
Rosec14 replied on Thu, May 8 2014 6:27 PM

That is so incredible. I barely remember using normal cassettes and am a little surprised people have put time and effort into advancing that particular strain of technology; apparently they've gotten results!


I have never had a good experience with mini disc and have never found a good purpose for them. What makes you want them back, if I might ask?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 100 Contributor
Posts 1,079
Points 9,985
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: LA, CA
sevags replied on Thu, May 8 2014 7:21 PM

Do you call these "cassettes"? From what I have always known these are backup storage tapes, not the standard cassette tapes you would put music on and play in your car or boom box hell these are so different they might as well be 8-Track tape. The entire internet is reporting this as a "185tb cassette tape" wow talk about a successful PR spin by Sony.

Regardless that it isn't a cassette and just a tape, that is a lot of damn storage for a backup tape or just backup period!!!

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,690
Points 55,915
Joined: Jul 2004
Location: United States, Massachusetts
Dave_HH replied on Thu, May 8 2014 9:36 PM

You hit the nail on the head, sevags -- which is why we poked fun at it. :)

Editor In Chief

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,929
Points 24,760
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: United States, New York

Yup from the Ultrium/LTO website.. Where i work we were using Ultrium 3 till last year and Ultrium 4 is available now. looks like we are already beyond their claims unless of course their numbers are sans compression.


  • Filed under:
  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 1
Points 5
Joined: May 2014

The LTO capacities you show in your image are compressed capacities, transfer rates are also based on compressed data. I am a Backup Manager working for an Enterprise level organisation & I never base my calculations on compressed data sizes. Many file containers are already heavily compressed. On average I'd say we see data compressed to 80% its original size. Tape is cheap but slow (relative to HDD arrays). Based upon current LTO6 drives speeds it would take just over 13 days of to fill a 185 TB tape ... that's presuming that the 185 TB's figure that Sony are quoting is uncompressed (doubtful). I'd hope that write speeds to its new media type greatly exceed those of LTO6.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (7 items) | RSS