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.