IBM And FUJIFILM Create 35TB Magnetic Tape Storage Device

In today's computing world, there are just a few things that come to mind when you mention "storage." Flash drives, hard drives, solid state drives and maybe even cloud storage. But that's about the extent of it. Hardly anyone thinks about or recognizes magnetic tape storage any more, but it's obviously still around and kicking thanks to innovations by IBM and FUJIFILM.

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

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

"This exciting achievement shows that tape storage is alive and strong 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, vice president, IBM Tape and Archive Storage Systems. 

These new technologies are estimated to enable cartridge capacities that could hold up to 35 trillion bytes (terabytes) of uncompressed data. This is about 44 times the capacity of today's IBM LTO Generation 4 cartridge. A capacity of 35 terabytes of data is sufficient to store the text of 35 million books, which would require 248 miles (399 km) of bookshelves.

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